When should a charitable organization start preparing for state charitable solicitation registration? The answer is both simple and detailed. The simple answer? Now. Whether you need to register in one state or multiple, there is enough information to pull together, that it is a good idea to gather due dates, requirements, and any data you can as early as possible. At least that is where you can start.
The more detailed answer provides the map to how to continue with the process. Initial state registrations are due as soon as you anticipate soliciting in the state and are renewed at different times based on individual state deadlines. For any state in which you have not registered but already solicit or intend to solicit, the entire registration packet and financial information (as determined by the state) is due immediately. For most states, soliciting without being registered is punishable by fines or additional civil penalties.
Registration Renewal and Annual Reporting
If you have already registered, you will need to file some sort of registration renewal or annual financial reporting. States generally set their deadlines for this based on IRS deadlines, end of organizational fiscal year, or a set date. The registration information can be gathered at any point usually, since it tends to be questions about the organization, its governance, and purpose. This information can get quite specific and will need to come from many different sources in your organization — CEO, Office Manager, Finance, Board, etc. To make sure you have no delays in filing, collect this information throughout the year or set deadlines within your organization for providing each component.
Having your registration information compiled early will allow you time to pull together your annual financial reporting, which you will not have until your IRS filing and audit or financial review, as required, are completed.
All the above is true, unless your organization is exempt from the registration requirement in the states where you solicit. Plan time to review requirements in each of these states to determine whether or not you will even need to register, and if not, whether there are exemption reporting requirements, since some states have exemption forms.
Organization is Key
With every aspect of state charitable solicitation registration the more you are organized with your requirements, data and deadlines, the easier it will be. Simple Charity Registration can help with all of the above. It will provide links and information to help you determine where you need to register, allow you to enter information as it is available to you, provide a registration checklist, and send you due date reminders. Want to be organized? Get started now.