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What organizations are required to register?

Any charity who solicits contributions or support in a state that requires registration must register in that state. What constitutes ‘solicitation’ is different in every state but many states have broad interpretations so to be prudent it is critical to maintain proper compliance.

Do we need to be registered in all 50 states?

There are currently 39 states and the District of Columbia that require registration. There are also eight additional states that may require a Certificate of Authority. Four states do not currently require any type of registration.

Do we only need to register once?

No. After the Initial registration most states will require a renewal registration or at a minimum an annual report each year.

Are their penalties for failing to register?

Yes. This is different for each state but can include but not limited to monetary fines, civil and criminal penalties, loss of solicitation privileges, officers and board members can be also be liable for non-compliance.

Are some organizations exempt from registration?

Possibly. Each state has different qualifications for exemption and those can change at any time. In many states, schools, hospitals and religious organizations may be exempt as well as organizations that have gross income of less than $25,000. However, a number of states require the organization to apply or exemption by completing forms and providing some additional documentation.

How much are nationwide registration fees?

The registration fees vary by state and type of organization. Some fees are based on income as well as a financial audit prepared by an accountant is required in most states. The general range of state fees for initial nationwide registrations is between $1,700 – $3,600 but could be more for very large non-profits.

Do some states require Registered Agents?

There are some jurisdictions that require an organization that solicits in the state and does not have a local office to have a registered agent with a local address. The registered agent is a legal representative who can receive official documents on behalf of the organization.