Category Archives: Registration Requirements

Charity Registration Exemption in Michigan

If you’ve ever registered in Michigan or even looked into it, you might have been confused by their several different forms, rules, and exemption categories. Michigan has enveloped both their Charitable Solicitations and Charitable Trusts exemptions into a multi-level registration and exemption process similar to New York’s,

The Charitable Solicitations Act (COSA) requires that:

A charity that solicits or receives contributions from Michigan sources in excess of $8,000, or a charity that compensates individuals for fund raising services, must have a charitable solicitation license, unless an exemption applies. It is important to note that a Michigan Charitable Solicitation License (MICS) is required for those organizations that receive contributions even if the contributions are not actively solicited.

This is the regular charitable solicitation registration that we think of. In addition, Michigan includes registration for any Michigan charity or a foreign (out of state) charity holding assets in Michigan under a separate law, the Charitable Trusts Act (STCPA). Both laws are for the protection of Michigan residents to ensure that donor monies go to the purposes intended.

Since each law carries its own exemptions and registration requirements, charities soliciting in Michigan as described above and/or holding assets in Michigan will need to complete the Michigan CTS-03 form to help them determine which registration(s) they need to do based on which exemptions they may fall under.

While the form may seem confusing to look at, the questions are clear and the process is easy to follow.

  • An organization with no exemptions files the solicitation registration (COSA) form CTS-01 and renews with CTS-02.
  • An organization with both exemptions files the CTS-03 and does not need to file that form again (renew) after they receive the determination letter from MI that they are exempt unless and until something changes in their status.
  • An organization exempt from solicitation registration (COSA) files the CTS-03 and the CTS-05 No renewal on the CTS-03 (see above).
  • A foreign organization exempt from charitable trust registration STCPA needs to file the CTS-01 solicitation registration (COSA) and the CTS-03 Request for Exemption. No renewal for the exemption (see above). File CTS-02 for COSA renewal.

Using Simple Charity Registration will make it even easier.

If you want to know more, go to for a smart explanation of charitable trusts and charitable solicitation in Michigan.

Is My Nonprofit Organization Required to Have an Audit?

Is your organization required to submit an audit with your state charity registration or renewal?? Simply stated, “Yes”!! Over half of the states that require state charity registration and annual financial reporting do require audited Financial Statements by a independent CPA in addition to the IRS 990 reporting.

Most states base their requirements on Total Revenue while the others base theirs on Total Contributions while some exclude government agency fees & grants, foundation grants, membership fees and investment income.

State Financial Statements Review Audit
Alabama No Audit Required
Alaska No Audit Required
Arizona Veteran’s Organizations Only – No Audit Requirement
Arkansas Revenue > $500K
California Revenue > $2M
Colorado No Audit Required
Connecticut Revenue > $500K *
DC No Audit Required
Florida $500K to 1M Contributions > $1M
Georgia Revenue < $500K $500K to 1M Revenue > $1M *
Hawaii Revenue > $500K *
Idaho No Charity Registration Required
Illinois Contributions > $300K **
Indiana No Charity Registration Required
Iowa No Charity Registration Required
Kansas Contributions > $500K
Kentucky No Audit Required
Louisiana No Audit Required
Maine No Audit Required
Maryland $300K to $750K Contributions > $750K *
Massachusetts 200K to $500K Revenue > $500K
Michigan $275K to $525K Contributions > $525K *
Minnesota Revenue > $750K
Mississippi $250K to $500K Contributions > $500K *
Missouri No Audit Required
Montana No Charity Registration Required
Nebraska No Charity Registration Required
Nevada No Audit Required
New Hampshire Revenue > $500K to $1M Revenue > $1M
New Jersey Revenue > $500K
New Mexico Revenue > $500K
New York $250K to $500K Revenue > $500K
North Carolina No Audit Required
North Dakota No Audit Required
Ohio No Audit Required
Oklahoma No Audit Required
Oregon No Audit Required
Pennsylvania  $100K to $300K Contributions > $300K *
Rhode Island Revenue > $500K
South Carolina No Audit Required
South Dakota No Charity Registration Required
Tennessee Revenue > $500K *
Texas Veteran’s and Police Organizations Only – No Audit Requirement
Utah No Audit Required
Vermont No Charity Registration Required
Virginia No Audit Required
Washington No Audit Required
West Virginia $100K to $200K Contributions > $ 200K *
Wisconsin $300K to $500K Contributions > $500K *
Wyoming No Charity Registration Required
* These states excluding certain types of revenue such as government agency fees & grants,
foundation grants, membership fees and investment income.
** $25K if professional fundraiser usedAs of 4/30/17

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800) 780-6027 or

DC Corporate Registration/Qualification

Nonprofits must file for a basic business license in DC which in lieu of completing a charity registration application.  This includes completing corporate registration with the FN-1 Form as a foreign entity conducting business in DC. The best way to register in DC is online through the Department of Consumer and Regulator Affairs (DCRA), Corporations Division, CorpOnline Web Portal.

It is best to register through their portal as you can track your progress from the corporate registration to the tax exempt application and then on to registering your non-profit as a business with the BBL-EZ Form.

You will need to have a Registered Agent for filing both as a Foreign Non-profit and for completing the BBL-EZ application both can be provided by a service or an individual residing in DC. If your organization is registering nationwide you are going to need registered agents for several states so we recommend using a national agency so that you only have one point of contact for that service. Here is the link to the blog we posted earlier in the year on the role of Registered Agents in state charity registration process.

If you plan on using a name in DC other than your registered corporate name, you also will need to register that Trade Name.

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800) 780-6027 or

California Corporate Registration/Qualification

Out of state charitable corporations must register or qualify with the California Secretary of State’s office if they do business in California which includes soliciting for donations.  A non-profit corporation can do this by filing a Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation (Form S&DC-S/N).

You will need to have a Registered Agent for filing the Statement and Designation by Foreign Corporation which can be provided by a service or an individual residing in California. If your organization is registering nationwide you are going to need registered agents for several states so we recommend using a national agency so that you only have one point of contact for that service. Here is the link to the blog we posted earlier in the year on the role of Registered Agents in state charity registration process.

After obtaining the corporate registration approval, we recommend that the organization files for state tax exemption with the California Franchise Tax Board.  The Submission of Exemption Request (Form FTB 3500A) should be filed so that the organization will be recognized as a tax exempt entity and will not have to pay any California franchise taxes.

For more information on corporate registration review the California Secretary of State’s website or you could read up on Corporate Registration and Registered Agents on our blog.

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800) 780-6027 or

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 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


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 and create a free account or contact us to learn more at 800.780.6027 or email us at with any questions.

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


North Dakota


Registered Agent Required for Both Corporate Qualification and Charity Registration 


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


Does my Nonprofit Need a Registered Agent? Part I: Corporate Qualification

There are several variations of the term Registered Agent that you may come across that usually mean the same thing.  It could be Resident Agent, Registered Agent (RA) or Statutory Agent.  They are all terms for an individual or company that your organization designates to receive official documents on your behalf located in a specific state.

This is usually a state where you do not have a physical office location and a post office box cannot be used.  A location where documents can be delivered and signed for in person on behalf of your company or nonprofit.  These documents can be any official state correspondence, tax information, or process notices.   Process notices are usually court documents advising the organization that it is party to a lawsuit or legal action.  

For corporations that transact business in several states they are often required to be “Qualified to do Business” in those states.  Which means in order for corporation to carry out business transactions in a state other than the one they are incorporated in they must go through a process called foreign qualification in each of those states and most likely will have several registered agents or use a national registered agent service.  This is not necessarily true for non-profits as they do not normally qualify as doing business per state’s laws.  This occurs because some states have different definitions of what transacting business is in their state.  

The following states require that charitable organizations file for “Corporate Qualification” and require that a resident agent be listed on the application.  Although, these organizations do not ask for the resident agent to be listed on the charity registration. When you’re done, read Part II of this blog to find out more about resident agents and charitable solicitation registration.

Registered Agent Required for Corporate Qualification


North Dakota


Registered Agent Required for Both Corporate Qualification and Charity Registration Forms


District of Columbia

States that Require Corporate Qualification for Organizations with Branch Offices in their States

Florida (foreign organization conducting business or have offices in state)

Illinois (foreign organization conducting business or have offices in state)

Michigan (foreign organization conducting business or have offices in state)

Nevada (foreign organization conducting business or have offices/programs in state)

Read Does my Nonprofit Need a Registered Agent? Part 2: The Charity Registration Forms for further information on which Charity Registration forms also require a registered agent.

Read our blog to learn more about Non-profit Corporate Registration and the Model Business Corporation Act.

Visit URS Agents to obtain Registered Agent services

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800) 780-6027 or



4 Simple Steps to State Registration Compliance

Welcome to Simple Charity Registration, a do-it-yourself, form-fill software developed by nonprofit and IT professionals to make it easy and affordable for charities to comply with state charitable solicitation registrations.

If you’re watching this, you likely know that most states require that charities register with them in order to be able to solicit funds in their state. This requires initial and annual filings that have different deadlines and requirements.

Our mission is to bring affordable automation of the state charity registration process to all US nonprofits so that they can refocus human and financial resources on accomplishing their missions.

What can Simple Charity Registration do for your organization?

We can save you hundreds of hours of work through 4 steps which streamlines the individual state registration process by answering core questions that are asked on every application and a handful of state specific questions all the while auto populating all the forms for you.

Simply 4 Steps

First our Compliance Wizard will help you determine which states that your organization is required to register in, which you many need to renew your registration and where your organization may be exempt.

Next, you will begin the questionnaire process which includes questions about your organization, its people and some of the people you do business with.

You continue the process by filling in any state specifics and some financial questions from your own Form 990.

Lastly you print and review your organizations forms and attachments, sign and send them to the state.

The end product is auto-filled forms with the required addenda, a checklist of attachments and filing instructions.

Simple Reminders

An added benefit of our software is you will receive email reminders with the state specific deadlines hopefully saving you from any nasty late fees and keeping your organization compliant.

Simple Resources

Along with the state forms we provide updated instructions and state resources pages with links to regulations and contact information.  We also offer an informative blog with industry news, information on upcoming conferences & webinars and anything else that we think you might find helpful to your organizations mission.

Simple Next Year

Finally, we make it even easier next year so that the only thing that you will need to do is review the prior year’s information, make necessary changes to your data, print and file.

We’ve been in your position with the confusion and frustration of filing state charitable solicitation registrations. So here is our answer to help your nonprofit remain transparent and in compliance so that you can continue your valuable work.

Simple Right?

Let’s Get Started!! Your first state is free and after that, you can choose to pay as you go with the individual state form packages for $50 each or purchase the “All States Package” for $900 which includes the forms for all 39 states. Both packages do contain the forms necessary for each individual state including forms for extensions, exemptions, registrations, renewals, annual filings and in some cases financial statements.

Please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or


Non-profit Charity Registration Renewal and Annual Reporting

Welcome to

One thing our customers ask is “What is the Difference Between Registration Renewal and Annual Reporting?”

There are many terms that are used seemingly interchangeably, but do have different meanings. Two of these terms are ‘Registration Renewal’ and ‘Annual Reporting’. What they have in common is that both have to do with maintaining a charitable organization’s solicitation filing with a particular state in the years following initial registration. What they mean for the amount of filing can be very different.

Almost every state that requires charitable solicitation registration requires some type of annual reporting. Essentially, this reporting is thought of in two elements: the updating, or renewal, of the information contained in solicitation registration and yearly financial reporting, or annual report. The distinction becomes important for organizations that file in more than one state because they have to organize which state is expecting what forms and when.

While most states require both types of submission, some, like Illinois, require only annual financial reporting with no registration renewal. Others can make a more complicated distinction, which often involves whether or not they offer deadline extensions. Since accurate financial documentation is subject to when an organization files with the IRS, some states will offer extensions on the annual report, while marking firm deadlines for the registration renewal. Maryland’s renewal due date is six months from the charity’s fiscal year end, but they allow extensions on annual reporting that coincide with the extensions offered on the 990 by the IRS.

Still yet, Tennessee and others make it a bit easier and offer extensions on the filing of both elements. It is important for non-profit organizations to understand the requirements of the individual states’ charitable solicitation processes. This is particularly true for nonprofits required to file in multiple states. Resources such as Simple Charity Registration can help your organization manage deadlines, access state requirements, and streamline the process. Sign in and get started today!!

As always, please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or email us at


Non-profit Corporate Registration and the Model Business Corporation Act

Welcome to Simple Charity Registration. com.

We frequently get questions regarding corporate or business registration in states by charities who find it confusing and frustrating that they might have another required form of state registration on top of the charitable solicitation registration our site services. We decided to provide an overview of the topic.

What are Corporate Registration and Qualification to do business?

Many people refer to registering a corporation in a state as corporate or business registration. That is the process which “domestic corporations,” or those originating in the state and operating within the laws of the state, need to go through. For foreign corporations, or those originating in another state, that sounds fairly unnecessary. The real term and purpose for foreign corporations, however, is “qualifying to do business” in a state. Very self-explanatory. It would seem reasonable that a state would need to know about a business making money from its residents. How do states define qualification to do business?

Generally, states have developed their business rules on the Model Business Corporation Act which differentiates between those domestic and foreign corporations we just discussed. Since business entities must follow the rules of the states in which they are created, domestic corporations have requirements to register their organizing documents, governing documents, and keep them updated annually along with financial reporting. As with most of these rules, this increases the accountability and transparency of businesses operating within the state.

Foreign corporations are subject to separate rules since they are already regulated by their home state. As such, states only want detailed reporting if the foreign corporation “transacts business” in their state. While no state gives an absolute definition of transacting business, the Model Business Corporation Act lists several examples of activities that are not included. Among these are third party business functions like:

  • banking or legal activity
  • interstate commerce (vs. intrastate commerce)
  • one-time transactions that are completed within 30 days and not reproduced by other similar transactions
  • sales where the oversight of the sale is done out of state

To be sure, an organization that performs services in a state, has an office or other presence in a state, or has employees in a state does come under the definition of transacting business in that state and would need to qualify.

What knowledge should you take from this video? All states have some sort of corporate registration and qualification to do business. Some are more stringent than others and all need to be taken seriously because there are large penalties for non-compliance. To stay in compliance, do your homework and consult attorneys if needed. It all matters.

In the coming days we will go deeper into some of the questions that result from these processes to give you some background as you look into whether you need to qualify to do business in states other than your own.

As always please contact us with any comments, questions or concerns at (800)780-6027 or

Thanks for watching!