Category Archives: State Charitable Registration

Starting a NonProfit and Soliciting Donations in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia does not require charitable registrations, but to solicit contributions in DC, you will need to obtain a Basic Business License.  With our help, the steps below will be as easy as 1-2-3!

Qualify to do business in the District of Columbia

  1. Designate a Registered Agent
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy number (only if you are located in DC)
  3. Make sure that your IRS Determination Letter is current
  4. Register with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue
  5. Apply for Exemption from Income and Franchise tax
  6. Obtain a Certified Resolution
  7. Make sure you don’t owe the DC Government money
  8. Apply online for your Basic Business License (BBL)

Qualify to do Business in the District of Columbia

If your organization is a corporation created outside the District of Columbia, you will have to register as a foreign nonprofit corporation with the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.  As part of this process, you will report the names of your corporate officers and designate a Registered Agent, either an organization or an individual located in DC who can accept legal documents for your organization.

Designate a Registered Agent

If you do not have someone who can represent you in DC, we can help with that too!  Our Registered Agent service can accept delivery of legal documents for your organization and make sure that they reach you.

Obtain a Certificate of Occupancy number

This is required if you have an office or other facility located in DC.  Most commercial office buildings already have a Certificate of Occupancy allowing use of their space by tenants.  You will need to obtain the number for your building and enter it as part of the application process for the BBL.

Make Sure that your IRS Determination Letter is current

If you applied for tax exemption from the IRS, you received a determination letter spelling out your organization’s status under the IRS code.  You will need that letter to apply for tax exemption in DC.  If the letter is more than four years old, you will need an updated letter, known as an Affirmation Letter.  A representative of your organization must request the Affirmation Letter from the IRS; more information is available at

Register with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue

This registration is done online and requires your organization’s tax ID number, identification of your organization’s structure, and the names, titles, home addresses, and Social Security numbers of the organization’s principal officers.

Apply for Exemption from Income and Franchise Tax

This isn’t a required step for the BBL, but now that your tax-exempt organization has registered with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue, you will want to make sure that you do not have to pay DC Income and Franchise Tax.  This application is done online at  You will have to upload your IRS Determination Letter or Affirmation Letter as part of the process.

Obtain a Certified Resolution

A corporate officer must sign a form to certify that you are authorized to apply for the Basic Business License.  This form will be uploaded as part of the BBL application process.

Make Sure you don’t owe DC money

As part of the online application process for the BBL, you will be asked to file a Clean Hands Certificate, certifying that your organization does not owe the District of Columbia more than $100.  As with any other form, you must be able to answer this question truthfully, so make sure all accounts are up to date!

Apply online for your Basic Business License

The hard parts are done.  (Well, except for the payment.)  This application is done online, but if you have followed the steps above, you will have all the documents you need.  DC charges a fee of $412.50 for the BBL, but it does not have to be renewed for 2 years.

Starting a Nonprofit and Soliciting Donations in Connecticut

In Connecticut, charities are regulated by the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP).  Any charity that solicits donations in Connecticut must register or file a claim for exemption from registration with the DCP.

Your organization may also need to apply for tax exempt status from the IRS and/or register with the Connecticut Secretary of State to do business in the state.  However, you do not have to file with the IRS or the Secretary of State in order to apply to register with DCP for charitable solicitation.  You may wish to consult an attorney or an accountant to determine what is best for your organization.

Before beginning to solicit donations in Connecticut, an organization must apply for registration, unless they meet the requirements for exemption.  They can file a claim for exemption if they meet any of the categories below:

  • Organized religious corporations, religious institutions, or religious societies;
  • Parent-teacher associations or educational institutions accredited and recognized by a government body;
  • Non-profit hospitals licensed under the laws of Connecticut or another state;
  • Governmental units in the United States; or
  • An organization that receives less than $50,000 in contributions annually, as long as the organization does not pay anyone to conduct solicitations.

If the claim for exemption is approved, the organization does not have to file again unless their status changes and they no longer qualify for exemption.  Exempt organizations are listed along with registered organizations on the DCP’s website at, as organizations legally able to solicit contributions.

If your organization cannot claim an exemption, you must:

  1. Complete the initial registration form;
  2. Provide a copy of your most recent IRS Form 990;
  3. Provide audited financial statements if your revenue on the Form 990 exceeds $500,000; and
  4. Pay a $50 registration fee.

However, you do not have to furnish financial documents if you have not completed your first fiscal year or filed your first IRS form 990.

Any changes to the organization’s name, address, officers, tax exempt status, legal form, or fiscal year end must be reported to DCP within 30 days.

Registered organizations that wish to continue soliciting donations must renew their registration each year.  Renewal notices are send by email about 60 days before registration expires.  One email message will contain the user ID and a second message will contain the password.  Blank renewal forms are also available on the DCP website.

An organization should cross out any incorrect information on their renewal notice and write in the corrected information.  To renew online, they must upload the corrected and signed renewal notice, the IRS Form 990, and their audit report, if an audit is required.  They can pay the $50 registration fee with a credit or debit card.

If the organization’s registration is still due more than 65 days past the expiration date, they must apply for reinstatement by mail.  They will have to mail in a reinstatement form, the required attachments, any required audit report, and the $50 registration fee, plus a late fee of $25 per month.

If the organization will no longer solicit donations in Connecticut, they may withdraw by sending in the Form 990 for the last year in which they solicited donations, their registration number, and either a letter stating the date of withdrawal or a copy of a dissolution document.

Paid solicitors and professional fundraisers must also register in Connecticut.  These rules do not apply to any fundraiser who is either a permanent employee of the charity or a volunteer.

If a person or company plans, manages, or otherwise advises a charity regarding fundraising but does not solicit donations themselves or hire anyone to solicit donations, they must register as a fundraising counsel.  A fundraising counsel must have a contract with the charity and must submit a copy of the contract to the DCP.

If the person or company is hired to directly solicit contributions, they must pay an annual fee of $500 and post a $20,000 surety bond with DCP.  They must also file a notice-to-solicit at the start of each fundraising campaign and a financial report at its conclusion.  These reports are filed jointly with the charitable organization.

Volunteer fundraisers must have an organization’s written permission to use their name and should verify that the organization is registered to solicit donations.  If you wish to hold an auction or raffle to benefit a charity, you should check for local requirements or restrictions.

What is Religious Exemption?

There is an old joke about an IRS auditor who calls a clergyman to confirm a large donation from a parishioner and asks, “Did Mr. Thompson donate $10,000?” The clergyman thinks a moment and replies with a smile, “He certainly will!”

The interesting thing is that while that donation is tax-deductible for Mr. Thompson, like other nonprofit organizations, the church doesn’t have to pay taxes on it, but unlike other charities, it has even less responsibility for reporting it.

So, what is religious exemption? For charities this is a big question because exemption can mean tax exemption, exemption from financial reporting, and exemption from state charitable solicitation registration in many cases.

Let’s talk about tax exemption and exemption from financial reporting to break it all up. Later we will get into religious exemption from charity registration.

Why is there a special classification for religion?

Churches are protected from government interference by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Therefore, the degree to which an organization is associated with the direct practice of religion determines their level of accountability (reporting) to the IRS and subsequently to the states.

The IRS categorizes religious charities accordingly: churches, their integrated auxiliaries, religious organizations, and other. Each type as defined by the IRS determines what level of reporting they need to do. In general, churches and their integrated auxiliaries (per the IRS) are treated differently from “religious organizations” as follows:

  1. “Church” (used as an overarching term to indicate any similar place of worship, such as a synagogue or mosque) – The IRS gives 14 attributes of a church, primarily among which is being a legally recognized organization and having a congregation and an ordained clergy (see the IRS Tax Guide for Religious Organizations Glossary);
  2. “Integrated auxiliary” is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and public charity that is associated with a church or denomination and is internally funded, though missionary groups and youth groups do not usually need to meet this last criteria. Churches and Integrated Auxiliaries (including the definition of a missionary group) are further defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, 26 CFR Section 1.6033-2(g) & 2(h);
  3. “Religious organizations” — according to the IRS, these can include nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical (encompassing multiple Christian faiths) organizations, and groups whose purpose is for the study or advancement of religion; and
  4. Other — If the activity of the organization is primarily secular in function when performed by other groups, the charity may not fit in the religious exemption. (03-30-1999)

The biggest difference is that because of the need for the separation between church and state, churches and their integrated auxiliaries don’t have to file a Form 990, while religious organizations do. The other end of that separation is that religious organizations can do some, not substantial, issue based lobbying while churches cannot. Page 10 of the IRS Webinar on Churches and Religious Organizations: Do’s and Don’ts has a chart to help you see where you might fit by what is required of you.

It is important to know where your organization falls on this spectrum to know what is required of you at the federal level. Next, we will delve into how it affects state compliance.

This information is not intended as legal advice or instruction.

State Charity Registration Exemptions

You have started your nonprofit and you have applied to the IRS for a federal exemption, but wait, that does not mean you are exempt from filing state taxes, paying local sales taxes or registering your charity in each state.  Approximately 40 states require you to file a state charity registration application, several require you to apply for a corporate license and some you will need state tax exemptions.

These application processes are completely different than Federal tax exemption.  The state charity registration is your organization notifying the state that you will be soliciting its residents for donations.  The application that you provide to them is there way of assuring transparency to their citizens.   Looking for an exemption from filing a state charity registration application? Well, good luck!!  Those laws have more loop holes than an amusement park.

One hundred percent of all states offer some type of exemption but qualifying for that exemption and keeping it is a different story. Each state law has its own definitions and requirements for those exemptions. Some states only require an initial letter notifying them that your organization believes it is exempt while others require you to file an application for approval to the state charity office and a few require annual notifications.  In those states the fees are reduced for the exemption not the required paperwork.

Here are some common state exemptions:

Revenue <$25,000 (can vary from $5,000 to $50,000)

Religious Organizations or their affiliated groups

Educational Institutions or their supporting groups

Membership Organizations – Fraternal, Social, alumni, or professional

Veteran’s Organizations including Police, Fire and Rescue Groups

Political Party or Candidates for Office

Donations for a Specified Individual


Some other not so common state exemptions:

Childcare Providers

Adoption Agencies


Boys and Girls Clubs

Less than 10, 35 or 100 Donors per Year

As noted before, and will be discussed in our next post on the common exemptions, each of these exemptions have their own requirements designated by the state where you are soliciting donations.  They are not only determined by the state where you are physically located but in each state where you are soliciting donations.  You may be exempt in your home state but not in others; as well as your organization could be exempt in foreign states but not your state of origination.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please contact us at 800-780-6027 or for more detailed answers.


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


Charity Resources – Who Should I Call? FAQ’s?

Looking for some help with your nonprofit? Almost all states have an association devoted to nonprofit assistance no matter where your organization is in its lifecycle. Whether you just need a form or something more complex they will most likely have the answer. Most state associations offer online training, research and local events that you can attend to get more familiar with your fellow non-profiteer!

State Association Link
Alabama Alabama Association of Nonprofits
Alaska The Foraker Group
Arizona * Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits
Arkansas Arkansas Nonprofit Alliance
California California Association of Nonprofits
Colorado Colorado Association of Nonprofits
Connecticut CT Community Nonprofit Alliance
Delaware * Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement
District of Columbia Center for Nonprofit Advancement
Florida Florida Nonprofit Alliance
Hawaii Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations
Idaho * Idaho Nonprofit Center
Illinois Forefront
Indiana * Indiana Nonprofit Resource Network
Iowa* Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center
Kentucky Kentucky Nonprofit Network
Louisiana Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations
Maine Maine Association of Nonprofit
Maryland Maryland Nonprofits
Massachusetts Massachusetts Nonprofit Network
Providers’ Council
Michigan Michigan Nonprofit Association
Minnesota Minnesota Council of Nonprofits
Mississippi Mississippi Center for Nonprofits
Missouri Nonprofit Connect
Nonprofit Missouri
Montana  * Montana Nonprofit Association
Nebraska  * Nonprofit Association of the Midlands
Nevada Alliance for Nevada Nonprofits
New Hampshire NH Center for Nonprofits
New Jersey Center for Nonprofits
New Mexico
New York New York Council of Nonprofits
Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York
North Carolina North Carolina Center for Nonprofits
North Dakota North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations
Ohio Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies
Oklahoma Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Oregon The Nonprofit Association of Oregon
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations
Rhode Island
South Carolina Together SC
South Dakota *
Texas * Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations
Utah Utah Nonprofit Association
Vermont  * Common Good Vermont
Washington Washington Nonprofits
West Virginia West Virginia Nonprofit Association
Wisconsin Wisconsin Nonprofits
Wyoming * Wyoming Nonprofit Network
* States that do not have charitable registration requirements as of 9/1/2016.

Most states encourage out of state nonprofits to join their membership or offer free resources so if your state nonprofit association can not answer your question another may have whole libraries full of information for you!!

If you have a great resource and want to share it with us or other nonprofits please send us the information or link and we will post it in a future blog.

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

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



State Charity Renewal Due Dates

 State Charity Registration Renewal Due Dates

State Renewal Due Date Renewal Due Date with Automatic Extension
Alabama 90 days after FYE
Alaska September 1st
Arizona *
Arkansas May 15th
California 4 1/2 months after FYE
Colorado 4 1/2 months after FYE 7 1/2 months after FYE w/auto 3 month extension
Connecticut 11 months after FYE
Delaware *
District of Columbia 2 years from the anniversary date
Florida Anniversary date
Georgia 24 months from the effective date
Hawaii 4 1/2 months after FYE
Idaho *
Illinois 6 months after FYE
Indiana *
Iowa *
Kansas 6 months after FYE
Kentucky 4 1/2 months after FYE 10 1/2 months after FYE w/auto 6 month extension
Louisiana October 1st
Maine November 30th
Maryland 6 months after FYE
Massachusetts 4 1/2 months after FYE
Michigan 6 months after FYE
Minnesota 6 1/2 months after FYE
Mississippi 4 1/2 months after FYE
Missouri 75 days after FYE
Montana  *
Nebraska  *
Nevada Last day of the anniversary month of incorporation or foreign corporate qualification
New Hampshire 4 1/2 months after FYE
New Jersey 6 months after FYE
New Mexico 6 months after FYE
New York 4 1/2 months after FYE 10 1/2 months after FYE w/auto 6 month extension
North Carolina 4 1/2 months after FYE 6 1/2 months after FYE w/auto 60 day extension
North Dakota September 1st
Ohio 4 1/2 months after FYE
Oklahoma Anniversary date
Oregon 4 1/2 months after FYE
Pennsylvania 4 1/2 months after FYE 10 1/2 months after FYE w/auto 6 month extension
Rhode Island 30 days prior to registration expiration
South Carolina 4 1/2 months after FYE
South Dakota *
Tennessee 6 months after FYE
Texas *
Utah January 1st, April 1st, July 1st or October 1st following the end of 12 months after the anniversary date.
Vermont  *
Virginia 4 1/2 months after FYE
Washington 4 1/2 months after FYE 11 months after FYE w/auto 6 1/2 month extension
West Virginia Anniversary date
Wisconsin Registration – July  31st
Wisconsin Financial – 12 months after FYE
Wyoming *
* States that do not have charitable registration requirements as of 9/1/2016.

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