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State Filing Requirements for Nonprofits

While nonprofit organizations are tax-exempt, they are still required to file a financial information form with the IRS every year, fulfilling their federal reporting requirement. States often have their own filing requirements for nonprofits, which vary by the state. These can include a state version of the federal IRS Form 990, periodic renewal of the organization’s tax-exempt status, or reports on fundraising activities and practices.

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Financial Reporting Requirements

Most states have a financial reporting requirement similar to the federal Form 990. This form contains at least the organization’s name and the address of an officer or registered agent. Most states have an annual reporting requirement, but some have a biannual requirement instead. Some states also require copies of the organization’s financial statements in addition to corporate data. The dates for state filings are not necessarily the same as the federal May 15 deadline, so check for your state’s individual filing requirements and deadlines here.

Most states require the filing to be sent to the Secretary of State, though there are exceptions. Some states also have a filing fee that must be paid with the filing, although some waive this requirement.

If the nonprofit has employees, the organization will also be required to make a periodic report to the Department of Labor.

Tax-Exempt Registration Requirements

Most states also maintain a separate registration requirement from the financial reporting requirement. Nonprofit organizations are usually required to register their organzations for a tax-exempt number when they first form. This number allows the nonprofits to make purchases without paying sales tax, and allows the states to track those untaxed amounts. States generally require organizations to renew their nonprofit status annually or bi-annually in order to keep their tax-exempt number.

Fundraising Activities Reports

If nonprofits conduct charitable or other fundraising activities, most states also require an annual fundraising report. This report details how the nonprofit conducted its fundraising and how the funds will be used.

Organizations that conduct online fundraising campaigns must register in not only their state of residence, but in all states that they conduct fundraising in. Practically speaking, this means that they should register in all 50 states. Unfortunately, there is not currently a portal for nonprofits to

register their fundraising activities in multiple states at once, so organizations still must register their activities with each state separately. This filing is still through the Secretary of State’s office in most states. You can check to see where to file your charitable organization registration here.

Consequences for Failure to File

If a nonprofit organization misses one or all of its state filing requirements, they can lose their good standing as a nonprofit in that state. Loss of good standing means inability to make corporate changes to the organization, such as name changes, changes to articles of incorporation, mergers, or dissolution. Continued failure to file can lead to civil or criminal penalties and loss of nonprofit status.

990.tax makes filing your nonprofit registration and reporting streamlined, simple, and safe. You can rest assured knowing your data is secure and your reports are filed properly. File your Form 990 and state forms with us and experience the difference.

References: https://www.expresstaxexempt.com/state-nonprofits/ https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/state-filing-requirements-nonprofits

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