Non-Profit organizations that have gained 501(c) status from the IRS and wish to solicit funds are required to register with state agencies for a Charitable Solicitation License. In certain states, charities are also required to register as a corporation and to meet additional requirements. Charitable Solicitation Licenses are issued on an annual basis.
In addition to a completed application most states will require a copy of the most recent IRS Form 990, a copy of the IRS Determination Letter granting exempt status, a statement of purpose and a list of the current Officers and Directors of the organization. Additional information such as bylaws, copies of professional fundraiser contracts and lists of related organizations are often required, and an independent audit will be requested if the charity’s income from solicitations is above a certain threshold.
Many states have additional requirements such as the Basic Business License (BBL) required by the District of Columbia, or the affidavit of non-solicitation required in Illinois. When UCS is responsible for registering your organization as a charity we will make sure all requirements for compliance are met when we apply for your license.
Registration fees are usually calculated on a sliding scale which is dependent on the total contributions received by the charity. For instance, in Pennsylvania if your organization has contributions of $25,000 or less the registration fee is $25. If your organization has contributions in excess of $500,000, the registration fee is the maximum fee amount of $250.
In other states such as Maine and Washington there is only a flat fee to pay regardless of contribution amounts. The initial registration fee charged in Maine is $50 and in Washington the fee is $60.
Many states will accept either the Unified Registration Statement (URS) or the state form for initial registration and renewal. In some cases submitting the URS minimizes the amount of information needed to complete the application.
Charities are required to register for a Charitable Solicitation License or to gain exemption from registration prior to beginning solicitation in any state. Registration after the start of a solicitation campaign can result in costly penalties.
Renewal dates are usually based on the charity’s fiscal year end but in some states there is an annual renewal date by which all registered charities in that state must complete their renewal paperwork regardless of FYE.
If you are unable to provide the requested financial information by an established due date, you can apply for an extension with the relevant authority so that your organization remains compliant and is not subject to late fees or penalties.
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