Tennessee Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation

Nonprofit articles of incorporation is the document filed to create a Tennessee 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:Tennessee Secretary of State - Division of Business Services

Charter (ss-4418)

Filing Method:

Mail, in-person or online.

Agency Fee:



~4 business days by mail. ~2 days online. Immediately in-person.


Tennessee Code Title 48. Corporations and Associations § 48-52-102


A certificate of incorporation is issued upon approval.

Other Helpful Tennessee Facts

As you are preparing to incorporate, keep in mind the following requirements specific to Tennessee, keep in mind:

Tennessee Directors

  • Number: minimum 3
  • Qualifications: Natural persons. No residency requirement. No membership requirement.
  • Term: default is 1 year, 5 year maximum
  • Quorum: majority
  • Committee: minimum 1 natural person who need not be a director

Tennessee Officers

  • A president and a secretary are required.
  • One officer prepares minutes of the directors' and members' meetings and authenticates records of the corporation.
  • Two or more offices may be held by the same individual, except for president and secretary.

Tennessee Members

  • Members: optional
  • Regular meeting: required annually
  • Quorum: 1/10th votes

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