Washington D.C. Nonprofit Compliance

Required annual filings

This guide covers the required filings to maintain a nonprofit corporation in Washington D.C.. If you are looking to form nonprofit in Washington D.C., please visit our Start Your Washington D.C. Nonprofit guide. The steps below apply to nonprofits that are both incorporated and foreign qualified in Washington D.C.. Please note that this is a general list and may not be exhaustive or applicable to all nonprofits.

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1 File IRS Form 990
Agency:Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Form:

IRS Form 990-N, 990-EZ, 990-PF or 990

Instructions:

See Form 990 Thresholds to determine which form to file.  Then see Current Form 990 Series for instructions.

Due:

By the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the taxable year.  For most organizations, the tax year ends December 31 so the Form 990 is due May 15.

Fact Checked:8/28/19
2 File Washington D.C. Corporate Tax Exemption Renewals
Agency:District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue
Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Franchise tax exemptions need to be renewed every 5 years.

Fact Checked:4/25/17
3 File Washington D.C. Sales Tax Exemption Renewals
Agency:District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue
Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Tax exemptions must be renewed every 5 years.

4 File Washington D.C. Two-Year Report
Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division
Form:

BRA-25: Two-Year Report for Domestic and Foreign Filing Entity

Filing Method:

Mail, in-person, or online.

Agency Fee:

$80

Turnaround:

Online filings process in about 15 business days.

Due:

Your first report is due April 1 in the calendar year after registration. After the first filing, reports are due biennially by April 1.

Law:

D.C. Code Ann. § 29-301.01 et seq.

Penalties:

Late fee of $50.

Notes:
  • In person filing is subject to additional $100 fee.
Fact Checked:8/6/20
5 Renew the Charitable Solicitation Registration

District of Columbia Charitable Solicitation License

Agency:District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Business Licensing Division
Law:

District of Columbia Code Ann. § 44-1703 et seq.

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?Yes
Fact Checked:4/10/20

Registration to Obtain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Charities that raise less than $25,000 in contributions per calendar year and do not use paid solicitors
  • Religious institutions
  • Membership organizations
  • Public or private organizations that solicit only from employees as long as the solicitation is approved by and conducted under the supervision of the employer or the employer's duly authorized representative, and is only carried on within the place or places of employment of the work force
Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Fact Checked:1/8/20

Renewal to Maintain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Charities that raise less than $1,500 in contributions per calendar year and do not use paid solicitors
  • Religious institutions
  • Educational institutions
  • Membership organizations
Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Biennially by the end of the month prior to your registration month. If you registered for the first time in September, your report will be due by the end of August two years later.

Fact Checked:1/8/20

Initial Registration

Instructions:

First, you must foreign qualify in D.C..
Then, file the Combined Business Tax Registration Application (Form FR-500) with the Office of Tax and Revenue.
Then, all nonprofits then file the Unified Registration Statement (URS) along with a Basic Business License (BBL).

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$412.50

Turnaround:

3-4 weeks

Notes:
  • Some District of Columbia counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.
Before you Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents in D.C.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.

Foreign Applicants:

  • Check the available exemptions to see if your charity is eligible for exemption from the full registration requirement.
  • Appoint a registered agent to receive legal documents in D.C.
  • Obtain a certificate of good standing from your home state (to be filed during the foreign qualification process). The certificate cannot be more than 90 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division.
  2. Complete a New Business Registration with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue.
  3. Create a MyTax account and submit a franchise tax exemption request online.
  4. Create an Access DC account and submit an application for a charitable solicitation basic business license along with all required attachments.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. File foreign qualification documents with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs - Corporations Division.
  2. Complete a New Business Registration with the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue.
  3. Create a MyTax account and submit a franchise tax exemption request online.
  4. Create an Access DC account and submit an application for a charitable solicitation basic business license along with all required attachments.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS determination letter
  • Professional fundraising contracts
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • DC tax number or certificate
  • Certified resolution
Fact Checked:4/14/20

Registration Renewal

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$412.50

Due:

Biennially by the end of the month prior to your registration month. If you registered for the first time in September, your report will be due by the end of August two years later.

Due Date Extension:

D.C. does not grant extensions for charitable organization registration.

Required Attachments:

None

Fact Checked:2/4/20

Cancellation

Filing Method:

Online

Agency Fee:

$0

Notes:

To close out your registration, submit a BBL cancellation request form online.

Fact Checked:7/14/20
6Maintain a Washington D.C. Registered Agent

Maintain a registered agent that has a street address in Washington D.C.. The registered agent is responsible for receiving legal documents such as service of process. Appointing a registered agent service is often preferable to listing an officer or director, as their information often changes. Consider using our registered agent service in Washington , DC to maintain compliance with the state requirement.


Continue reading

Fundraising Compliance

Learn how to stay compliant with charitable solicitation laws.

Read the guide
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