State filing requirements: Most states require nonprofit corporations to file one or more documents to give it permission to do certain things in that state. Those filing requirements generally fall in these four areas:
1. Annual Reports
Most states require nonprofit corporations that are incorporated in the state (and/or registered to conduct business in the state) to file an annual "report" (may be called something different) with the state agency that keeps track of corporations registered in that state. Filing the "report" may require a filing fee and usually requires that the nonprofit identify the "registered agent" and provide a physical office address. If your nonprofit fails to file this report when due, it could lose its "good standing" in the state where it is either incorporated or registered to do business as a nonprofit corporation.
Question: What is the impact of failing to not being in "good standing"?
Answer: Your nonprofit will not be permitted to make major changes, such as amend its articles of incorporation, change its name, change its registered agent, or merge/dissolve, unless it is in "good standing" with the state.
2. State Annual Financial Returns
Just as the federal government requires nonprofits to file the annual information return (the series Form 990; see above), many states require nonprofits to file something similar with the state government. Some states allow nonprofits to complete the basic part of the required state form and then attach the signed version of the 990 form that the nonprofit filed with the IRS, but each state has its own requirements so be sure to check.
3. Tax Status
Additionally, some states require periodic renewal of the state’s recognition of your nonprofit's tax-exempt status. For example, many states issue their own "tax-exempt certificate" for sales and use tax purposes.
4. Charitable Solicitation Registration
If your nonprofit is engaged in fundraising activities in a state, it is likely that your nonprofit will need to file an annual "charitable solicitation registration" in each state in which you solicit donors. The state agency responsible for regulating fundraising activities varies from state to state. Currently 39 states require some type of registration for fundraising activities. Read more about charitable registration.
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