Monthly Archives: July 2016

Our Charitable Organization Never Registered ! What Do I Do Now?

Many nonprofits know that registration before you start fundraising activities is a must. Unfortunately, there are some who aren’t familiar with that requirement. As a result, there are groups out there that remain non-compliant with some state requirements for registration. If you’re one of the many that fall under that category, you’re treading in dangerous waters right now. In a world where a simple tweet can be classified as solicitation of funds, failing to register your organization could mean serious penalties.

Can I Just Stay Unregistered?

Even if you’re not sure you’re required to register, doing some research here is a must. Remaining unregistered means risking heavy fines for every single instance where you raised funds but remained unregistered. Those fines can be thousands of dollars each, so if you hold several events throughout the year, it could get very costly to your organization very quickly. Some states even provide criminal penalties for the brass of those groups that fail to register when they know it’s required.

In short, no, staying unregistered is not a good idea.

Register Now

Almost any state will tell you that even if you failed to register before, registering late is far better than never registering. To be clear, you may still face some small fines and penalties, but finding compliance now will mean you’re making a good faith effort to follow the guidelines laid out in each state. We even make that process easier than ever. With a bit of information and a few clicks, we can have your registration paperwork submitted for all applicable states in less time than you ever thought possible, and our free trial will help you find the information you need to determine if and where you need to file. Get started today to prevent problems down the road.

As always please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or Support@SimpleCharityRegistration.com

More of our tutorials can also be seen on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2a1t5YJ 

Do All Charitable Organizations Have to Register?

If you work in the world of nonprofits, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of charity registration. Required for most when seeking new contributions, the statutes governing these vary widely from state to state, and they can encompass almost any kind of fundraising activity; even sending out a flier for a bazaar where you might ask for donations can count. The real question, though, is whether every charity is governed by the same regulations. Since the process can be a bit long and involved, if your charity isn’t required to register, you likely don’t want to have to fight the tide.

The Simple Answer

Unfortunately, the simple answer to this question is a bit more complicated than you may think. No, not every charity is required to register. Some religious organizations are exempt from registration. Some college and universities also fall under exemption rulings. Organizations that only raise a small amount of funds are also exempt. The problem? Even those definitions can vary from state to state. “Religious organizations” may mean different things in Missouri than it does in California. While each state does excuse some nonprofits, that doesn’t universally apply. What’s more, though, is that you have to do your legal research before you ever launch a new campaign or you could be subject to fines and penalties.

You may solicit locally, or only in your state, in which case you may need to register in that state. If you solicit in other states or get grants from out of state foundations, you will have to check the applicable rules. In addition, if you have a “Donate” button on your website that attracts donors from across the US, you will probably need to file in all the states where your donors reside, per an agreement among the states attorneys general called “The Charleston Principles.”

Your Next Step

If you’re a nonprofit, your best bet is to go ahead and register if you’re unsure about your exemption status. Fortunately, we can help. With a streamlined process that makes registration across the United States easier than ever, even before you launch your next campaign, we’ll help to ensure compliance is fulfilled to help you get back to what you do best – raising funds for your cause. Get started the easy way today.

As always please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or Support@SimpleCharityRegistration.com

More of our tutorials can also be seen on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2a1t5YJ 

Simple Charity Registration – Navigating the Site

Welcome to SimpleCharityRegistration.com!!  In this video we are going to give you a tour of our website.

Across the Top You Will Find

The “Home” page tab will always return you back to the “Login Page”

The “Contact Us” tab is where you will find the contact information for the support group at SimpleCharityRegistration.com.

The “Blog” tab is where you will find industry news, helpful information from state authorities, and miscellaneous articles essential to state registration.  You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our YouTube channel.

The “Login” tab is where you can login to another account or get back to where you left off in your account.

The Blue Ribbon Contains

The “Blue Ribbon” tabs are primarily for company specific information. There are 6 tabs that you can browse at your leisure but not used in processing forms.

How It Works, Get Started, About Us, FAQ, Our Guarantee, State Requirements

Left Side Navigation Bar

The left side navigation bar is where all the action happens.

Fiscal Year

The “Fiscal Year” is the first item you will see on the left side navigation bar.  This is where you choose which fiscal year you would like to file forms for.  A new organization or one just getting started will most likely choose 2015 as their starting point whereas an organization that has been soliciting in the past may want to start in 2014.

Account Information

In the “Account Information” section you will see the “My Account” tab that is where you will find your invoices for the states you have purchased, you’re billing information and your password reset option.

The “Welcome” tab is where you will find all your instructions and helpful videos like this one.

The “Form Preview & Print” tab is where you will find information on printing your forms and saving your organizations pdf’s.

Compliance Wizard

In the “Compliance Wizard you will find the “State Checklist” and the “State Registration Groups”.

State Checklist Page

The “State Checklist” page is where you want to start the process.  It is here where you can choose to view the “Exemption Groups” for each state with one question.  We call this the “Super Exemption Question”.  There are some examples of the major exemption categories here.  If you know you are not exempt you just check “No” and you will not be asked any further questions about exemptions.  If you think you may be exempt check “Yes” and the exemption question groups will populate on the next page.

Here you will also choose which states you would like to register in or have previously registered in.  After you have answered the questions on this page that apply to your organization you will hit “Continue” which will start populating the forms that are required for registration or renewal on the left hand navigation bar in the “State Specific” groups.  The website will then take you to the next page which is the “State Registration Groups” page.

You will also notice on this page and throughout this site that each questions page has 3 buttons on the top and bottom of the page:  Save, Continue and Skip.  Please use the “Save” button often to save your work.  The “Continue” button will save your work and take you to the next unchecked page.

State Registration Groups

The “State Registration Groups” page is next.  Here you will enter information about your fiscal year, prior registration dates and a handful of questions which will finish the form population process.

The fiscal year is asked on most forms and some renewal dates are based on this date.

The “State Specific Groups” are primarily for your organization to have all your deadline information in one place.  You can see renewal dates here and if an extension is available in a particular state.  You will also add here any state registration numbers and answer a few state specific questions.  The renewal dates are based on either your registration date or fiscal year end date.  We will be sending you renewal reminders based on these dates.

Exemption Groups (if applicable)

The exemption groups will appear after the state specific registration groups based on your answer to the “Super Exemption” question on the prior page.  These exemption questions vary widely in number and type state by state.

Basic Information

On the “Basic Information” tab is the most general questions that will be essential for any form you wish to complete such as addresses and contact information.

Extensions

You will find the steps to file extensions in the “Extension Information” tab.  If you are intending to renew your organizations registration but do not have your paperwork ready in time for the deadline, you can look in the State Specific groups to see if one is offered by that state.  You can then check that you would like to file an extension and the form will form will populate under this tab.

You may also want to look at the “Important Tips” of navigating the website on the “Welcome Page”.

As always please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or Support@SimpleCharityRegistration.com

More of our tutorials can also be seen on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2a1t5YJ 

Ongoing Charity Registration Requirements

You may already know that your charity or nonprofit has to register in any state where you’ll be seeking donations. For those groups who use social media to raise funds, this can mean meeting the requirements of almost forty states before you ever embark on a fundraising project. While that is certainly a paperwork nightmare, what you may not know is that registering once simply isn’t good enough. In most cases, there are ongoing registration requirements with which you must comply.

Once and Done?

Filling out the paperwork to register your charity is a nightmare. Just deciding whether you’re required to register and which states you should register in is rough enough. After you’re done, though, you’re not truly done. Instead, you have to look at renewal guidelines on a state by state basis. While most states and the District of Columbia require you to renew your registration on an annual basis, not all of them do. Some of them —  Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming — don’t require registration at all. Some of them require renewal separately from annual financial reporting. Learning exactly what to expect can be difficult.

Is Renewal Hard?

Some states have managed to streamline the process a bit so that you can renew without a hassle using much of the same information you submitted initially. Unfortunately, like every other aspect of charity registration, that’s not always the case. There are states that require you to complete the same level of paperwork you did the first time during the course of renewal.

Is There an Easier Way?

Absolutely!! We can help!! Whether you’re registering the first time or trying to get your organization renewed to meet ongoing requirements, we make it easier than ever to make sure your group is complying with the standards in all applicable states, which is a must if you plan to raise funds in more than one state. To learn more, get started now.

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or support@SimpleCharityRegistration.com.

YMore of our tutorials can also be seen on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2a1t5YJ 

The Risks of Not Registering Your Non-profit

If you’re one of the many nonprofits preparing to raise funds in the upcoming year, you may already be familiar with the requirement to register in each state where you plan to raise funds. Because many are now using tools like social media to raise funds, the requirement to register in the states that require it is almost a foregone conclusion. If you’re looking to avoid the paperwork hassle, though, and not register your charity on the hope you qualify for some hidden exclusion, you may want to think again. The consequences associated with your actions are more serious than you think.

Civil Penalties

The civil penalties associated with failure to register typically mean fines for the organization itself. They can often be fairly substantial, too, taking quite a bite out of your group’s yearly revenue. Often, as in the State of Maryland, fines of $5,000 or more can be imposed for every single violation, so each time your group held an event and you weren’t registered, you may be adding to your tally.

Criminal Liabilities

The fines aren’t the only problem with a failure to register. If you knowingly fail to comply with the state’s charitable registration act, you could be facing up to felony charges just for failing to comply. This can extend to anyone on the directorial board who knew registration was required, and could mean extensive personal fines or even jail time (for multiple offenses in the State of Florida) for you and your board members.

Go The Easy Way

Fortunately, we make registration easier than ever, so there’s no problem with compliance. With a streamlined process that means one simple form ensures you’re complying with every state in which you plan to raise funds, and links to all the relevant information, it’s simple to get the paperwork you need completed immediately and never have to worry about facing penalties again. Get started now.

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or support@SimpleCharityRegistration.com.

More of our tutorials can also be seen on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2a1t5YJ 

DC Charity Registration Process – Domestic Non-profit Organizations

Registering in Washington, DC as a domestic non-profit organization is a multi-step process in which the steps must be followed in order to complete the process with success.  The best way to register in DC is online through the Department of Consumer and Regulator Affairs (DCRA), Corporations Division, CorpOnline Web Portal or to go in person to their offices.

These instructions are for in-state (domestic) charity organizations who will be located in DC and soliciting DC residents and corporations for donations.  Here are the steps that we recommend to our in-state customers.

Domestic Organizations (located in DC) — Will be required to provide evidence of corporate registration in DC & have applied for DC tax exemption prior to obtaining solicitation registration.

1. Corporate Registration

a.  New nonprofit organizations in DC must file their articles of incorporation for corporate registration using the Domestic Nonprofit Registration Statement DNP-1 through the Corporations Division.  It is best to do this online because you can submit a copy of the confirmation email as evidence of filing with your DC tax exemption application (Step 2b).

b. If you plan on using a name in DC other than your registered corporate name, you also will need Trade Name registration. If you include a trade name on your BBL-EZ (Step 3) you will need to register that name.

2. DC Tax Exemption

a. File FR-500 to register with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue. This can also be done faster online.

b. File FR-164 to become a tax-exempt entity in the District (Fillable version). You can mail this or drop it off in person. We recommend you include a stamp-and-return copy in self-addressed stamped envelope include with your BBL-EZ filing (see below).

3. Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy (COO) or Home Occupancy Permit (HOP)

File for a Certificate of Occupancy by paper or online to ensure that your activities comply with zoning laws.  You will need a COO if you operate out of an office in the District OR a HOP permit if your organization is run out of a home.  If your organization is leasing space the building owner should be able to supply you with a copy of the COO.

4. Business Licensing

a. Once steps 1, 2 and 3 are completed, the organization can apply for the Basic Business License for Charitable Solicitation using the the BBL-EZ form. This form can also be found at Simple Charity Registration. You will need to include your registration certificate from Step 1 and a copy of your FR-164 filing from Step 2b.

Note: Accredited educational institutions, religious organizations, and member-based groups need to file the BBL-EZ to receive exemption. 

b. File for Clean Hands Certification, showing that you owe no more than $100 in the District — included in the BBL-EZ.

c. File the Certified Resolution, certifying that you are authorized to sign for the organization and that all answers are true to the best of your knowledge and ability.

5. Business licensing is good for two years and renewable at that time.

6. Overview of the process:

a. 5 Basic Steps to Obtaining a Business License and

b. Charitable Solicitation Registration Quick Facts

Other useful web pages:

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or support@SimpleCharityRegstration.com.

DC Charity Registration Process – Foreign Non-profit Organizations

Registering in Washington, DC is a multi-step process in which the steps must be followed in order to complete the process with success.  The best way to register in DC is online through the Department of Consumer and Regulator Affairs (DCRA), Corporations Division, CorpOnline Web Portal.  The steps are different according to your type of organization — i.e., foreign, not located in DC, and domestic, located in DC.

Here are the steps that we recommend to our out of state customers.

Foreign Organizations (not located in DC) — Will be required to provide evidence of foreign corporate qualification, DC tax exemption and other requirements are necessary prior to obtaining solicitation registration.

1. Corporate Registration:

a) Nonprofits must file for corporate registration with the FN-1 Form as a foreign entity conducting business in DC. It is best to do this through the portal because you can submit a copy of the confirmation email as evidence of filing with your DC tax exemption application (Step 2b).

  • During this process, you will need to appoint and maintain a Resident Agent to receive legal notices in DC and
  • Provide a Certificate of Good Standing from the state in which your organization is incorporated.
  • Provide a copy of your IRS determination letter.

b) If you plan on using a name in DC other than your registered corporate name, you also will need Trade Name registration. If you include a trade name on your BBL-EZ (Step 3) you will need to register that name.

2. DC Tax Exemption

a) File FR-500 to register with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue. This can also be done faster online because processing is faster and is designed to only accept fully correct entries, which avoids time delays resulting from rejected forms.

b) File FR-164 to become a tax-exempt entity in the District. (Fillable version). You can mail this or drop it off in person. We recommend you include a stamp-and-return copy in self-addressed stamped envelope to include with your BBL-EZ filing (see below).

3. Business Licensing:

a) Once steps 1 & 2 are completed, the organization can apply for the Basic Business License for Charitable Solicitation the BBL-EZ form. (This is the form found at Simple Charity Registration). You will need to include your registration certificate from Step 1 and a copy of your FR-164 filing from Step 2b.

Note: Accredited educational institutions, religious organizations, and member-based groups need to file the BBL-EZ to receive exemption. 

  • Provide a copy of your IRS determination letter.

b) File for Clean Hands certification, showing that you owe no more than $100 in the District — included in BBL-EZ.

c) File the Certified Resolution, certifying that you are authorized to sign for the organization and that all answers are true to the best of your knowledge and ability.

4. Business licensing is good for two years and renewable at that time

5. Overview of the process:

a) 5 Basic Steps to Obtaining a Business License and

b) Charitable Solicitation Registration Quick Facts

Other useful web pages:

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or support@SimpleCharityRegstration.com.

SimpleCharityRegistration – The Basics for Navigating Our Site

Thank you for choosing SimpleCharityRegistration and coming to see how it works!!

The Left Navigation Pane

When you start your account, immediately go to the Welcome Page and read it through. There is the quick version and the detailed version to suit your needs. This will be a good resource to return to for further information.

Think of yourself at the top of a funnel that will start with the most general information, and then get more specific. That funnel is controlled by the left navigation bar and the data you put in it.

The Compliance Wizard

The first step is completing the Compliance Wizard which asks you questions that help determine whether and where you need to register and what forms you need to file. You will need to answer all questions pertinent to the states in which you solicit for this process to work. When you have finished with the Compliance Wizard, the state groups and forms should appear at the bottom of the left navigation bar.

The Basic Information

Scroll back up the left navigation bar to see what’s next. We’re still near the top of the funnel, so we need to complete the Basic Information page. This is the most general questions that will be essential for any form you wish to complete.

The Extensions

With that done, if you are intending to renew your registration in a state but are not ready for the deadline, you can use the extensions section to file extensions right away. If you have answered that you want to file an extension in a state that offers one, you should find that completed form here.

The Non-profit Information Section

Otherwise, you will continue through the nonprofit information section, which is divided into subject matter to make it easier for you to answer. Some pages will include state specific questions at the bottom.

On the Key Personnel page and some others you will need to add individual entries by clicking on “Add [blank]” at the lower right.

The State Specific Sections

We now get to go down to the state sections which contain pages of any state specific questions not asked elsewhere and the populated forms.

The Forms

When you click on a form you will get the completed form plus any required lists or additional pages followed by a checklist of instructions for how to file the form, what to attach, and what fees charged by that state.

The Right Side Panel

Additional instructions and notes can be found on the right panel. Please note that these have active links that you can use to get further information. Active links are also found in some questions, such as the exemption questions on the State Registration Groups page. These are usually links to the official state website and will give you access to additional information about individual state requirements.

The Next Year

In addition, when thinking about renewal, our system will send you reminders of upcoming deadlines and save your data to make it even easier for next year.

More Information

You can also get help from our FAQ page, our blog and our YouTube video channel.

If you ever get stuck or don’t understand something, please contact Customer Service. While this process will take work, we are here to make the administration and organization of your charity registration simple.

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or support@SimpleCharityRegstration.com.

More of our tutorials can also be seen on our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2a1t5YJ