Washington D.C. Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation

Nonprofit articles of incorporation is the document filed to create a Washington D.C. nonprofit corporation.

Preparing and filing your articles of incorporation is the first step in starting your nonprofit corporation. Approval of this document secures your corporate name and creates the legal entity of the nonprofit. Only after this approval can you apply for 501c, apply for fundraising licenses, open a bank account, and otherwise conduct business.


Incorporating provides many important benefits:

  • Limits the liability of directors, officers, and shareholders
  • Fulfills statutory requirements to register your organization's name
  • Is a prerequisite for applying for 501(c) tax exemption
  • Provides governance and adds credibility to the business or organization

Fast Facts

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division

Articles of Incorporation of Domestic Nonprofit Corporation DNP-1

Filing Method:

Mail or in-person or online. Filing in-person necessitates an expedite fee.

Agency Fee:

$80 + optional $50-100 expedite fee


~15 business days. ~3 business days for $50 expedite fee. Same-day for $100 expedite fee.


D.C. Code § 29-402.02

  • When filing online, print the last confirmation page for your records.
  • All check payments must be made payable to "DC Treasurer."
  • For expedited service, include Expedited Service Action Form EX-1

Other Helpful Washington D.C. Facts

As you are preparing to incorporate, keep in mind the following requirements specific to Washington D.C., keep in mind:

Washington D.C. Directors

  • Number: minimum 3
  • Qualifications: An individual. No residency requirement. No membership requirement.
  • Term: default is 1 year, 5 year maximum
  • Quorum: majority
  • Committee: minimum 1 director

Washington D.C. Officers

  • Minimum 2 separate officers: one responsible for the management of the corporation (e.g. "President") and another responsible for the financial affairs of the corporation (e.g."Treasurer"). One officer prepares minutes of the directors' and members' meetings and keeps a record book.
  • Two or more offices may be held by the same individual.

Washington D.C. Members

  • Members: optional
  • Annual meeting: required
  • Quorum: majority of entitled votes

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