Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organization Filing Requirements
Nonprofit organizations have government filing requirements just like any other business. Many organizations are required to file annual or periodic state corporate reports, state financial reports, and other local or state filings. Additionally, most tax-exempt organizations must file an annual IRS return. It is important that your organization stay on top of reports so it can keep its corporate and/or tax-exempt status. This article shares certain nonprofit filing requirements. However, each state is unique, so you’ll need to check with your state’s corporate and comptroller’s officer to review needed reports to stay compliant.
- Corporate/Business Reports. If a nonprofit organization is a corporate entity, it will have annual or periodic corporate registrations. State laws differ, but most require nonprofit corporations to update contact information, names of directors and officers, and name and address of the registered agent. For example, in Texas, nonprofit corporations must file a Periodic Report (Form 802) at least once every four years.
- Employment Reports. If an organization has employees, it likely will have certain state labor department reports.
- Tax Reports. Many states require organizations to apply for certain tax exemptions. For example, there may be property tax exemption, franchise tax waivers, and sales and use tax exemptions.
- Charitable solicitations. Most states require nonprofit organizations to register with a charitable solicitation division before it can engage in fundraising activities in that state.
In additional to required reports, your organization must update certain state offices of certain updates. If your organization makes certain organizational changes, it may have to notify specific agencies. Changes may include:
- Address and contact information
- Registered agent details
- Articles of Incorporation amendments
- Bylaws (significant changes may require notifying certain agencies)
- Modification to the organization’s fiscal year (may require that you notify specific agencies).
IRS Annual Report
Most tax-exempt organizations are required to file annual tax returns with the IRS. Even though most tax-exempt nonprofit organizations do not pay federal taxes on revenue related to their purpose, most do have to file an informational return with the IRS. This annual reporting return is called a Form 990.
The type of Form 990 to be filed by an organization depends on the filing year and the gross receipts of the organization. The different forms include Forms 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, and 990-N.
If your organization does not file the IRS Form 990 for three years in a row, it will automatically lose its tax-exempt status.
Additionally, your organization needs to notify the IRS of certain updates, including:
- Changes in the organization’s name, articles of incorporation, bylaws – Notify the IRS exempt organizations manager for your state or send the updated information with the nonprofit’s next Form 990.
- Changes in proposed budgets may affect public charity status – The IRS classifies a nonprofit as a public charity on the basis of budget information supplied when the nonprofit applied to receive its 501(c)(3) status as a public charity. If the level of public support that enabled the nonprofit to qualify as public charity changes substantially, the nonprofit could be reclassified as a private foundation.
- Changing the nonprofit’s accounting period – If the nonprofit wants to change its fiscal year, it must file IRS Form 1128 by the 15th day of the 5th month following the close of the new fiscal year.
The Cullinane Law Group works exclusively with the nonprofit sector. We set up and maintain strong and legally compliant nonprofits that have solid bases for long-term success. We provide risk management and offer practical solutions for sound governance. We help nonprofits, foundations, religious organizations, and social entrepreneurs throughout the United States who seek to create positive change.
The Cullinane Law Group provides an annual compliance and reporting service so our clients stay in good standing. We help with annual state and federal reports and nonprofit annual meetings.