How to Start a Nonprofit in Wyoming


If you’re thinking about starting a nonprofit organization in Wyoming, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to get started:

1. Choose a business name.

It is important to choose a name for your nonprofit that will not be confused with any other businesses or nonprofits. A good way to do this is to see if the name you have chosen is already taken by another business or nonprofit in your state. This can be easily done by searching “business search” online, checking with the secretary of state’s office and searching Wyoming’s Division of Corporations.

If you decide that the name you have chosen is available, there are still several things to consider before registering with the IRS as an exempt organization (EO):

  • Is it too similar to another EO’s name? For example, if there exists an organization called “The Big Blue Buffs,” it would be wise for a new group named “Big Blue Buffs” not only to avoid using those exact words but also to spell them differently (e.g., BigBlueBuffs). If possible, we recommend choosing a complete or partial phrase that has no meaning outside its use within your organization rather than using just single words like “the” or “big.” This way people aren’t likely to confuse yours for someone else’s!
  • Is your name too similar to someone famous? If so (e.g., President Barack Obama), then expect some headaches down the road when trying out new ideas like special events at local businesses because they may get confused as being endorsed by him/her instead which could lead them away from supporting us over time due nothing more than confusion about whether he/she supports us directly because we share his last name 😉

2. Choose a registered agent and office address.

Next, you’ll need to choose a registered agent and office address. The agent serves as the nonprofit’s legal representative in the state of Wyoming. A registered agent must be a resident of Wyoming and have a physical street address in Wyoming.

In order to obtain your own 501(c) status with the IRS, your organization must be formed in accordance with IRS rules and regulations that are applicable at the time of its formation (i.e., it cannot have been created before October 9th 1909).

3. File articles of incorporation with the Wyoming Secretary of State.

To complete the filing process, you must submit articles of incorporation to the Wyoming Secretary of State. These are the official papers that establish your nonprofit as a legal entity and allow you to apply for tax-exempt status.

The Wyoming Secretary of State provides a step-by-step guide on how to file your articles online, which is quick and easy. You will also be able to pay any applicable fees at this time; they vary depending on whether or not you’ve chosen an additional service (such as using a registered agent).

4. Create your nonprofit bylaws.

Nonprofit bylaws are written contracts between the organization and its members. The bylaws should be kept simple, short, and clear. They should include:

  • Purpose of your nonprofit
  • Membership requirements (such as age and residency)
  • How board members are elected

5. Hold an organizational meeting for board members and establish a board of director procedures.

  • Hold a board of director meeting to adopt the bylaws.
  • Establish a board of director procedures, including how you will meet and take action.
  • Establish conflict of interest policies for directors, officers, and key employees.

6. Apply for federal tax exemption with the IRS by filing Form 1023 (if your organization will have annual gross receipts exceeding $10,000).

If you plan to have annual gross receipts exceeding $10,000, you must apply for federal tax exemption by filing Form 1023. If your organization is eligible for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), its application will be approved automatically unless it is determined that it is not organized and operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes. You can file Form 1023 online or by mail at any time during the year. However, if you file a paper application by mail, we encourage you to send it in early enough so that it is received no later than 15 days before the end of your first accounting period as a nonprofit organization; otherwise, your application might be delayed while waiting for records check in order to determine whether there are any adverse facts about your organization.

7. Hold a second meeting to accept the bylaws and adopt the Conflict of Interest Policy (and other official policies).

Once you’ve got the bylaws drafted, it’s time to adopt them. This is done at your first official meeting. There are two options for adoption:

  • You can review the bylaws and then adopt them in one fell swoop. If you choose this option, be sure to review your bylaws carefully before adopting them—you want to make sure that all of the content is accurate and up-to-date before officially adopting them!
  • Or, instead of reviewing the bylaws ahead of time, your organization can elect its members as delegates who will be tasked with reviewing and approving each section individually at an “adopt section” meeting after they have been adopted as a whole. This means that everyone has input before anything gets approved, but it also means that there could be several meetings where only a few people are present (and communication between these individuals may not always be smooth).

8. Apply for state tax exemption (if needed).

If your organization is eligible for state tax exemption, you’ll want to apply for it. Because Wyoming doesn’t require nonprofits to pay state taxes, this isn’t a requirement when applying for federal tax exemption. However, it can save money on other expenses (like paying employees’ salaries) and help strengthen your organization’s reputation among donors and volunteers.

If Wyoming does require your nonprofit to pay state taxes, you can apply for an exemption by filling out Form AAC-1 (Application For Exemption From State Taxation). You should also include this form:

  • A copy of the corporate charter or articles of incorporation
  • The name(s) of each person in charge of the corporation
  • The address where all official business is conducted

You can start a nonprofit in Wyoming!

It’s easy to start a nonprofit in Wyoming. You just need to complete an application, and the state will take it from there.


As you can see, starting a nonprofit in Wyoming is a straightforward process. There are many organizations that will help you along the way, including the Secretary of State and the Wyoming Nonprofit Center.

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