Category Archives: Fundraising Registration

3 Factors Affecting Your Nonprofit Registration Timeline

One of the most frequently asked questions we get in our support email is “How long will it take to get my charity registered”.  That depends on 3 factors: organizational paperwork preparedness, number of states registering, and the state office for which you are registering.

Prior to beginning the process you should have all of the following paperwork/information in hand to facilitate completing the questions that are required to fill in the forms. If you look at the left-hand side on the SimpleCharityRegistration.com website the navigation bar divides the questions by topic.  The sections will give you a sense of the types of required information you will need. You can even click on the sections ahead before entering information to see what you will need next.

Organizational Paperwork

In addition to the 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF or other financial reporting you will need:

  • Info on the origins of the charity, such as formation date and state, 501(c) designation and date or application date, organization type, purpose, mission, etc.
  • if this is an initial registration in states, you will also need to attach the articles of incorporation and by-laws
  • list of sources of government grants
  • personnel — list of board members with addresses (usually a business address other than the charity), key employees and their salaries and positions, and information about whether any of these people have connections to other related organizations or have any interaction with government agencies or courts
  • list of any paid professional fundraisers used by your charity along with their contracts and terms
  • a list of chapters, branches or offices of the organization
  • a list of resident agents for the states required as explained on the right side of the Resident Agent page

Most of these items are for answering the questionnaire, but some, like the articles of incorporation and by-laws, will need to be copied and attached to the registration form upon submission.

For the data entry, depending on the size of your organization, you should allow a few days just in case you need to contact other administrators in your office for missing information. The next step is proofing and putting the packages together. Add some signatures and stamps and you are on your way.

Number of States

The best part about having an account with SimpleCharityRegistration.com is once all the information is in the software printing and preparing each consecutive state application becomes easier and the next year when it is time to renew you only need to review the prior year’s information and add the current financials and you are on your way to knocking this once burdensome process right out of the park!!

States Where Registering

Depending on the time of year and which states you are registering the time for approval can take a couple of business days up to 6 weeks or more.  Take note of the renewal date for each state when registering as you know that will be the time of year the state offices will be the busiest and your initial registration application may take a little longer.

You may also enjoy our new welcome video and our two-part blog on this topic.

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

State Charity Registration Made Easy – Webinar

Simple Charity Registration is an affordable form fill software designed to reduce the amount of time and resources it takes your organization to fulfill your state charity compliance requirements.

How can SimpleCharityRegistration.com help you accomplish your mission?

4 Simple Steps:

  1. Identifying up front which states your organization will need to register in and in which states you may be exempt from registration requirements
  2. Collecting all information necessary to file up-to-date state specific forms (registration, renewal, exemption, or extension), with instructions and resources all in one place
  3. Sending email reminders of renewal and annual financial due dates, saving you from missed deadlines and penalties
  4. Storing your data from one year to the next, available to you at any time to add a new state or renew a previous one, keeping you compliant

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4 Simple Steps to Compliance Video

Simple Charity Registration is designed to allow you to do your registration in parts as you have the information available, making now the perfect time to get started on your registrations and renewals while waiting for your financials to be complete.

Simple Charity Registration looks forward to helping you spend more of your valuable resources on your mission while staying compliant.

Join Us for a free, 30-minute webinar on Thursday, July 20th at 2:00 pm ET.

Register Now

 

Here are some other resources that will be helpful throughout the registration process: GuideStar’s blog on State Registration Requirements for Fundraising, our blogs on what to prepare for registration and how Simple Charity Registration can help.

Please take a minute to visit our website www.SimpleCharityRegistration.com and create a free account or contact us to learn more at 800.780.6027 or email us at support@simplecharityregistration.com with any questions.

Thank you
Your Simple Charity Registration Support Team

 

Demystifying State Charity Registration – Webinar

For many nonprofits, this time of year brings anxiety from multi-state charity registration requirements. Whether you are looking at register for the first time or renewing, it can be overwhelming. SimpleCharityRegistration.com can help you manage this heavy load.

Simple Charity Registration is an affordable form automation software designed to reduce the amount of time and resources it takes your organization to fulfill your state charity compliance needs. How can SimpleCharityRegistration help you accomplish your mission?

4 Simple Steps:

  1. Identifying up front which states your organization will need to register in and in which states you may be exempt from registration requirements
  2. Collecting all information necessary to file up-to-date state specific forms (registration, renewal, exemption, or extension), with instructions and resources all in one place
  3. Sending email reminders of renewal and annual financial due dates, saving you from missed deadlines and penalties
  4. Storing your data from one year to the next, available to you at any time to add a new state or renew a previous one, keeping you compliant

Laptop

4 Simple Steps to Compliance Video

Simple Charity Registration is designed to allow you to do your registration in parts as you have the information available, making now the perfect time to get started on your registrations and renewals while waiting for your financials to be complete.

Simple Charity Registration looks forward to helping you spend more of your valuable resources on your mission while staying compliant.

Join Us for a free, 30-minute webinar on Wednesday, April 5, at 3:00 pm ET.

Register Now

 

Here are some other resources that will be helpful throughout the registration process: GuideStar’s blog on State Registration Requirements for Fundraising, our blogs on what to prepare for registration and how Simple Charity Registration can help.

Please take a minute to visit our website www.SimpleCharityRegistration.com and create a free account or contact us to learn more 800.780.6027 support@simplecharityregistration.com.

Thank you
Your Simple Charity Registration Support Team

 

Does My Nonprofit Need a Registered Agent? Part II: The Charity Registration Forms

There are several states that ask for service of process agent or registered agent be listed on their charity registration forms and some will allow the charity to designate the state as the agent for service of process.  Although it may be easier to designate the Attorney General or Secretary of State as your registered agent it may not be in your best interest.  A registered agent is paid to handle your affairs and make sure that you receive notices in a timely manner so that you do don’t miss an important deadline.  They are also proficient with the state’s regulations and the interworking of the state agencies so they can help guide you in making informed business decisions in their state. 

Registered Agent Required for Corporate Qualification

California

North Dakota

Oregon

Registered Agent Required for Both Corporate Qualification and Charity Registration 

Colorado

District of Columbia

Registered Agent Required for the Charity Registration Forms

Michigan (RA required for both Corporate and Charity registrations)

Minnesota (designee can either be RA or the person with custody of the financial records)

Mississippi (if none designated then the Secretary of State is designated for service of process)

Missouri (designee does not have to be located in MO)

New Mexico (RA can be named which does not have to reside in NM or consent to service of process can be the Attorney General)

South Carolina (foreign organizations can specify the Secretary of State by filling in the space provided with the name and address of the agency)

Utah (but does not have to reside in the state)

Virginia (if none designated, the Secretary of the Commonwealth is automatically appointed)

In some states the State will act as the default service of process agent on behalf of the organization and is acknowledged by signing the charity registration form.

State Agency Must be Designated as Representative

Arkansas (foreign organizations must file an Irrevocable Consent for Service of Process provided by the Attorney General)

Georgia (organizations must irrevocably appoint the Secretary of State as agent for service of process)

Hawaii (organizations must irrevocably appoint the Attorney General as agent for service of process)

Washington (organizations must irrevocably appoint the Secretary of State as agent for service of process)

Read our blog to learn more about Registered Agents for Nonprofit Corporate Registrations (Corporate Qualifications).

Visit URS Agents to obtain Registered Agent services

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

 

GuideStar & Simple Charity Registration Webinar 1/18/2017

Please register for Simple Charity Registration – annual state charity registration made easy! on Jan 18, 2017 2:30 PM EST at: 

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3425208897626102785

GuideStar and Simple Charity Registration are partnering to simplify the annual state registration process and save your nonprofit organization time and money; freeing up valuable resources for your mission. 

SimpleCharityRegistration.com makes it easy and affordable for nonprofits to manage the arduous annual state registration process. No more dozens of manila folders on your desk, a sea of extension letters and deadlines that don’t match with your federal filings. 

Simple Charity Registration, like TurboTax, determines which states you need to register with, asks the right questions, fills out all your forms and provides simple filing instructions. 

The webinar will provide an overview of how SimpleCharityRegistration.com works and how small and large nonprofits can save time and money using the software while freeing up valuable time to support your mission. 

Prior to the webinar, you may wish to create a free account and use the system to determine in which states you need to register. You are not billed until you print forms, so take a spin! Please be sure to read the Welcome page and complete both the State Checklist and State Registration Groups pages, as they determine the process for all the states. 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

State Charity Registration – Which Fiscal Year Should We File?

One of the most common questions we hear from new state charity registration filers is in which fiscal year they should file. This is not a problem for renewals, because it is clear they are reporting on the previous year. But, should an organization that has never filed in a state use the current fiscal year or the previous one?

Unlike many other questions involving state charitable solicitation registration, this one is more or less straightforward. You should file using the year of your most recently filed tax form, remembering that the states are expecting organizations to register prior to solicitation.

Let’s go through some scenarios to see what this means.

  1. A new charity that has not yet completed a fiscal year or filed an IRS 990, 990-PF, or 990-EZ would file projected information for the current fiscal year and then send the filed form to the states once it’s ready.
  2. An existing charity that has not solicited in a state in the past but anticipates doing so will register based on their most recently completed fiscal year.
  3. An existing charity that has already solicited in a state but is only recently aware of the state’s charitable solicitation requirement would file based on their most recently filed IRS 990, 990-PF, or 990-EZ. Note that some states may require you to back-file a few years. (See our blog on noncompliance).
    1. In this scenario, because the states require registration prior to solicitation, if you are near the end of your fiscal year, you would use your prior year form and then renew in a few months when your renewals are due.

Thankfully, with Simple Charity Registration you can register more easily and copy your data from one year to the next. Straightforward and Simple!

 

Fundraising Registration Penalties for Non-compliance

Non-compliance has been all over the news lately from the Donald Trump Foundation not being registered to solicit contributions to 7 West Virginia residents operating a fraudulent charity that netted them millions of dollars by using state-issued gaming licenses of two nonprofit organizations to divert money into corporate accounts.

If you’re looking to avoid the paperwork and not register your charity on the hope that your organization does not need to because you are exempt, that you do not hold any events outside your home state, or that all our money is used for mostly programs you may want to think again. You can no longer plead ignorance about state registration.  It’s in the nightly news, it’s in your inbox and even talked about in every industry seminar, webinar and podcast.

The Consequences

The civil penalties associated with failure to register typically mean fines for the organization itself. They can often be fairly substantial 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.   If a court determines that your nonprofit failed to register, it can order that it make restitution thus forcing you to return the donations received while in default.

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 you and your board members. Not to mention the loss of credibility with the public as some states publish a list of offenders, so your organization could end up in the news defending itself against the claims of non-compliance.

The penalties for filing inaccurate IRS forms against your nonprofit can be to $20 per day up to the lesser of $10,000 or 5% of your annual gross receipts, penalties against the individual responding to any informational deficit request from the IRS in time can be up to $10 per day up to a maximum of $5,000, and possible loss of tax exemption.

Some Examples

A sampling of several state websites on the issue of non-compliance found that  South Carolina states in their FAQ’s section, “If a charitable organization solicits contributions without being registered, submits false information to the Secretary of State, is delinquent in a filing or violates any other provision of the “Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act,” the Secretary of State may assess an administrative fine of up to $2,000 for each separate violation. It is extremely important that charitable organizations submit all forms and documents in a timely manner to avoid the assessment of administrative fines.”

Other states like Illinois conclude that your organization has been soliciting in their state the entire time your organization has been in business and will assess late fees for up to three years and require the submission of the missed annual reports to your existing charity.  They will impose a $200 late registration fee and will require the annual filing for those years which they assumed you missed which results in a $100 late fee for each of those three years.  The consequence can be up to $500 in late annual report fees and the late registration fee. 225ILCS 460/2 h.

Minnesota states that failure to comply may be a violation of Minnesota law and as such can result in “civil penalties, attorney’s fees, [and] costs.”  Failure to file annual reports puts an organization in default in Minnesota so that they cannot solicit again until they are up to date on all filings, have paid a $50 fee, and file a new registration.

In New York, there are two overlapping categories of registration — one for soliciting from New York State residents (7-A), and the other for doing business in New York State (EPTL) — that are filed on the same forms. Monetary penalties for failing to register under 7-A are $1000 per violation and up to $100 per day of noncompliance. For EPTL it is up to $10 per day with a $1,000 max. Penalties are combined for those organizations subject to both rules.

Washington State  code 19.09.271-279 penalizes non-filers after five days’ notice by publishing a press release on internet and newspapers of a notice of the charity’s unregistered status. Knowingly giving false information in your filing is punishable as a misdemeanor under RCW Title 9A Chapter 20.

The Good News

We spoke with the charity offices of 11 states that require state registration to find out their approach to noncompliance. All said that they do not generally issue penalties for initial registrations in order to encourage compliance but added that the charity should show good faith and send in the registration form with all attachments as soon as possible. Note, this generosity is reserved for charities that register proactively. A charity that the state discovers is not in compliance is likely to receive penalties.

Once registering, the charity should also make sure that the application package is complete, signed and accurate. In a case where there has been solicitation prior to registration, a couple of the states require filing up to 3-4 years of registration forms and fees to cover the solicitation period.

As you might expect, the states could not absolutely rule out penalties, which would be incurred for extenuating circumstances, such as other compliance issues. Organizations with larger revenues and/or long-term solicitation may receive some more scrutiny, so applications should be triple checked for completion and accuracy.

Let’s Review

As you can tell, there is a difference in what we found on the state websites and in their solicitation regulations and when we spoke with them.  The regulations are in place for the serious of offenders but the states really just would like the nonprofits to comply voluntarily.

Regardless of penalties, you should file where required. Penalties grow steeper for willful violations of the law. Also, when you file, your information must be accurate. The biggest penalties are reserved for those who knowingly file incorrect or incomplete information because accurate information protects states and their residents from fraud. The bottom line is that charities need to know what the state registration requirements are, how they apply to their organization, and how to follow them.

Your Resources

No charity ever feels like they have enough resources but it is not worth the risk of losing your reputation or the possibly of your board being fined over the cost of not registering.  No one wants to go to that meeting.  There are many resources out there that can help you register depending on your budget.

If you get the right person on the phone with the states, they will help you through the process but that is a long and arduous task.  You will need to fill out the application or registration for each state separately and supply each with various attachments. You will also have to look up each state’s requirements one by one as each state requires a little something different.

Hiring a professional to perform the task for you is expensive and you still have to gather all the information and review all the paperwork for each state that you are registering in, so why not save the money.  Ultimately, you are still responsible for those state registrations.

Our Solution

Use our affordable form-fill software that will help you through the process of registration and renewal easily and affordably.  We have the most up to date forms, attachments and instructions available in one place with an added benefit of saving the information from year to year making renewal or expansion easier.  You are able to add additional states as needed if you want to hold an event in a new state or expand your programs somewhere new.

This can be done in a few simple steps:

  1. The compliance wizard will help you determine where you need to register or renew
  2. Answer the basic information and state specific questions
  3. Print the completed forms and attachments, sign and send

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