Maryland Nonprofit Compliance

Required annual filings

This guide covers the required filings to maintain a nonprofit corporation in Maryland. If you are looking to form nonprofit in Maryland, please visit our Start Your Maryland Nonprofit guide. The steps below apply to nonprofits that are both incorporated and foreign qualified in Maryland. 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 Maryland Corporate Tax Returns
Agency:Comptroller of Maryland
Form:

Form 500

Due:

3.5 months after the end of the fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31, the report is due March 15.

Notes:

This return is only required if the organization has income unrelated to its exempt purposes and is therefore not tax-exempt.

Fact Checked:9/4/15
3 File Maryland Corporate Tax Exemption Renewals
Agency:Comptroller of Maryland
Form:

Combined Registration Application

Due:

Every 5 years.

Fact Checked:4/25/17
4 File Maryland Sales Tax Exemption Renewals
Agency:Comptroller of Maryland
Filing Method:

Online

Due:

Every 5 years.

Fact Checked:7/20/18
5 File Maryland Annual Report
Agency:Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT)
Form:

Form 1 - Annual Report and Personal Property Tax Return

Instructions:

Form 1 Instructions

Filing Method:

Mail or online

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Annually by April 15.

Law:

Maryland Register 18.03.02

Penalties:

If your business has property in Maryland, then the late fee is a percentage of your county assessment plus interest. If your business does not have property in Maryland, then there is no late fee. All businesses risk dissolution or revocation.

Notes:
  • Must be signed by officer or principal.
  • Original signatures are required.
Fact Checked:8/6/20
6 Renew the Charitable Solicitation Registration

Maryland Charitable Organization Registration

Agency:Maryland Secretary of State - Charitable Organizations Division
Law:

Maryland Ann. Code, Business Regulation Article, § 6-401 et seq

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:4/10/20

One-Time Exemption Registration

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • A volunteer organization of firefighters or rescue or ambulance personnel for its ambulance, fire fighting, or rescue operations

 

Charitable organizations that do not use a professional solicitor and either:

  • solicit charitable contributions for a named individual and the gross amount is delivered to the individual;
  • are a religious organization, a parent organization of a religious organization, or a school affiliated with a religious organization and have in effect a declaration of tax-exempt status from the government of the United States;
  • solicit charitable contributions only from their members (including accredited educational institutions that limit solicitations to students, former students, parents of a student or former student, present or former board members, and staff members); or
  • only receive contributions from for-profit corporations and organizations determined to be private foundations by the government of the United States

 

Additionally, the Secretary of State may exempt from the requirement of a registration statement or annual report a charitable organization that:

  • is organized under the laws of another state that has a statute substantially similar to this title;
  • has been exempted from the submission of a registration statement by that other state;
  • has its principal place of business outside of Maryland; and
  • gets its money principally from sources outside of Maryland.
Law:

Maryland Ann. Code, Business Regulation Article, § 6-102 and Maryland Ann. Code, Business Regulation Article, § 6-413

Notes:

There is no registration requirement, but charities must submit a letter to the Secretary of State stating their claim of an exemption.

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Registration to Obtain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Charities that received less than $25,000 in contributions during their most recent fiscal year

Form:

Exempt Organization Fundraising Notice

Agency Fee:

$0

Fact Checked:8/15/18

Renewal to Maintain Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Charities that received less than $25,000 in contributions during their most recent fiscal year

Form:

Exempt Organization Fundraising Notice (Renewal)

Agency Fee:

$0

Due:

Annually within 8 months after fiscal year end.

Fact Checked:8/15/18

Initial Registration

Form:

URS or Form COR-92: Charity Registration

Filing Method:

Mail

Agency Fee:

$0-300, depending on charitable contributions

Turnaround:

4-6 weeks

Notes:
  • The nonprofit's president, chairman, or principal office must sign. The signature need not be notarized.
  • Upon approval, you will receive a Certificate of Solicitation.
  • Some Maryland 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.
  • If your charity meets the audit threshold, obtain an audited financial report to submit with your registration application.
  • 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.
  • If your charity meets the audit threshold, obtain an audited financial report to submit with your registration application.
  • Look through the list of required attachments and make sure that you have each required document in hand before starting the registration application.
  • If you will foreign qualify in Maryland, obtain a certificate of good standing from your home state to submit during the foreign qualification process. The certificate cannot be more than 90 days old when filing foreign qualification documents.
How to Apply:

Domestic Applicants:

  1. File entity formation documents with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).
  2. Submit a Charity Registration application or URS and all required attachments to the Maryland Secretary of State - Charitable Organizations Division.

Foreign Applicants:

  1. Determine whether or not your charity will need to foreign qualify based on your activity in Maryland. If not required, skip to number 3.
  2. File foreign qualification documents with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT).
  3. Submit a Charity Registration application or URS and all required attachments to the Maryland Secretary of State - Charitable Organizations Division.
Required Attachments:

  • IRS form 990
  • Audited financials (if applicable)
  • Articles of incorporation
  • Bylaws
  • IRS determination letter (or IRS form 1023 if exemption is pending)
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
Fact Checked:4/14/20

Registration Renewal

Form:

Maryland Annual Update of Registration. The URS is not accepted.

Filing Method:

Mail

Agency Fee:

$0-300, depending on charitable contributions

Due:

Due annually 6 months after the close of your organization's fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31, then renewal is due June 30.

Due Date Extension:

Due dates are automatically extended for 4.5 months beyond the original due date.

Penalties:

There is a late fee of $25 for each month that passes after the due date.

Notes:
  • Make sure to include all required attachments, including annual financial report
Required Attachments:

  • IRS form 990
  • Audited financials (if applicable)
  • List of officers and directors
  • Professional fundraising contracts
  • Only if amended: IRS determination letter, articles of incorporation, and bylaws
Fact Checked:2/4/20

Change of Fiscal Year

Form:

Maryland Annual Update of Registration

Agency Fee:

Varies

Notes:

Fiscal year can be changed during the standard renewal process.

Fact Checked:12/7/18

Cancellation

Agency Fee:

$0

Notes:

To close out your registration, submit articles of dissolution or a letter stating the organization is no longer soliciting in Maryland. Past due filings or fees are not required in order to close an organization's registration.

Fact Checked:7/14/20
7Maintain a Maryland Registered Agent

Maintain a registered agent that has a street address in Maryland. 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 Oakland , MD to maintain compliance with the state requirement.


Continue reading

Fundraising Compliance

Learn how to stay compliant with charitable solicitation laws.

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