Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

Multi-state Charity Compliance Webinar – November 28th 2:00 pm

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 Tuesday, November 28th at 2:00 pm EST.

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

North Dakota Corporate Registration/Qualification

Out of state charitable corporations must obtain a certificate of authority from the Secretary of State office if they conduct activities in North Dakota which includes soliciting for donations.  A non-profit corporation can do this by filing a Certificate of Authority Foreign Corporation Application (SFN 13100).

A foreign corporation using a name other than its corporate name must also file the Trade Name Registration Form (SFN 13401) and renew annually.

You will need to have a Registered Agent for filing the Certificate of Authority Foreign Corporation Application which can be provided by a service or an individual residing in North Dakota. 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.

For more information on corporate registration, review the North Dakota 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

New IRS 990-EZ Should be Helpful for Charity Registration

The IRS has prepared something special for charities this tax season by updating and annotating the 990-EZ Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. The updated form now includes 29 help boxes to give additional information and IRS links on questions that often trip up exempt organizations.

What is the 990-EZ?

The 990-EZ is the shortened return for Tax Exempt Organizations with less than $200,000 in gross receipts and less than $500,000 in total assets at the end of the tax year. This applies to tax exemption under 501(a), 501(c)(3) other than private foundations, and other subsections of 501(c) except those regarding black lung.

How will the New 990-EZ Help with Charity Registration?

The 990-EZ is a simpler, less-detailed report which makes it the preferred return of charities eligible to use it. Unfortunately, many state charitable solicitation registration forms require lots of additional financial information for those who don’t use the 990. The new help icons in addition to the 990-EZ Instructions provide information necessary to dissect how to correspond the 990-EZ data with the additional state questions.

Notes on Using the New 990-EZ

First, don’t be discouraged if you link to the form and can’t get the new information to pop up. The help icons won’t function unless you are accessing the form via a pdf software. Second, in their press release about the new form, the IRS reminded filers that it is still necessary to use the 990-EZ Instructions even with the help icons.

Find out More:

IRS 990-EZ Press Release


990-EZ Instructions

IRS Webinar on Reporting on Compensation on the 990 or 990-EZ


How do I know if my nonprofit is registered? Charity Registration Search

Are you trying to make sure your organization is in compliance with state charitable solicitation registration, but you do not know whether you are registered to solicit in certain states? You are not alone. If you have changed or reorganized staff, you may not know where you stand. Thankfully, most states have a charity search function that will allow you to find out easily.

Below is the most up-to-date list of charity search, sometimes called Check a Charity. You’ll see that a few of the states don’t have a search available and a couple will turn out to be pdfs that the states regularly update.

Overall, the states are making it easy to find out whether you are in compliance, and using Simple Charity Registration will make it easy and affordable to attain or remain in compliance.

State Search Site
LA no search
MO no search
NV no search

What do Related Parties and Organizations Have to do with Charity Registration?

When I first started doing state charitable solicitation registration for the organization my husband and I ran, I got to Massachusetts and found lots of questions about “related parties” and “related organizations.” Being a small organization at the time, this was a completely new concept to me. If I had started registering later in our history as we developed offshoots and more complicated relationships it would have been clear. Simply put, a related party or organization is one that shares revenue or governance with your organization or that could end up with some conflict of interest.

More specifically, a “related party” is defined in Code Sec. 267 as including family members, a taxpayer and a corporation controlled directly or indirectly (through attribution from other family member stock holdings) by the taxpayer (more than 50% of the value of the stock), and a partner and a controlled (directly or indirectly) partnership. Sec. 267 also specifies other related parties, including a trust and its grantor, a trust and its beneficiary, and a personal services company and any shareholder-employee.

Related organizations are organizations that stand in a parent/subsidiary relationship, brother/sister relationship, sponsoring organization of or contributing employer to a VEBA (Voluntary Employees’ Benefit Association), or supporting/supported organization relationship.

Here are a couple of IRS links that might help understand the terms:

Exempt Organizations Annual Reporting Requirements: Related Organizations and Unrelated Partnerships (Form 990, Schedule R)

Exempt Organizations Annual Reporting Requirements – Form 990, Schedule R: Meaning of Related Organization

By asking about these relationships, Massachusetts and a couple other states are looking to see any ways in which your organization could be mishandling donations indirectly by funneling funds to other parties. For those following the rules, it is a lot of extra work, but to these states it is increased transparency for their constituents.
Thankfully, Simple Charity Registration will store that data for you and fill it in all the charitable solicitation registration documents where it’s needed every year.

New Form 8868 for 2017 – 6 Month Automatic Extension of Time to File

990 Filing Due Dates
Tax Year Fiscal Year End Date 990/990EZ/990N 6-month Extension *
2016 12/31/2016 5/16/2017 11/15/2017
2016 1/31/2017 6/15/2017 12/15/2017
2016 2/28/2017 7/17/2017 1/16/2017
2016 3/31/2017 8/15/2017 2/15/2017
2016 4/30/2017 9/15/2017 3/15/2017
2016 5/31/2017 10/16/2017 4/16/2018
2016 6/30/2017 11/15/2017 5/15/2018
2016 7/31/2017 12/15/2017 6/15/2018
2016 8/31/2017 1/16/2018 7/16/2018
2016 9/30/2017 2/15/2018 8/15/2018
2016 10/31/2017 3/15/2018 9/16/2018
2016 11/30/2017 4/16/2018 10/17/2018
* Extension can be filed on line through an IRS Authorized e-File Provider, or by fax or mail.
See the IRS e-file for Charities and Non-Profits page for more details.

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



Important FY 2016 Update – Renewal Reminders

Important FY 2016 Update – Copy Data & Renewal Reminder

Simple Charity Registration Account Action Required

New user’s choices:

  • Begin data entry in FY 2016
  • Begin data entry in prior years

 Returning users choices:

  • Continue working on their FY 2015 registrations
  • Copy their FY 2015 information over to FY 2016
  • Start fresh by not copying their FY 2015 information

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