DC Charity Registration Process – Foreign Non-profit Organizations

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

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

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

1. Corporate Registration:

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

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

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

2. DC Tax Exemption

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

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

3. Business Licensing:

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

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

  • Provide a copy of your IRS determination letter.

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

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

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

5. Overview of the process:

a) 5 Basic Steps to Obtaining a Business License and

b) Charitable Solicitation Registration Quick Facts

Other useful web pages:

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