Massachusetts Nonprofit Compliance

Required annual filings

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

The 15 day of the 5 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.

2 File Massachusetts Corporate Tax Exemption Renewals

Not required



There is no renewal requirement for Massachusetts corporate income tax exemption.

More information: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
3 File Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemption Renewals

Not required



Massachusetts does not have a renewal requirement for sales tax exemption, but organization information most be kept up to date.

More information: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
4 File Massachusetts Annual Report

If the nonprofit was formed in Massachusetts (Domestic):

Agency:Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
Form:

Annual Report

Filing method:

Mail, in-person, or online.

Agency fee:

$15 for mail, $18.50 for online.

Due:

Annually by November 1.

Law:

M.G.L.A. c180 § 26A (1933); 950 CMR § 106.13

Notes:
  • Anyone with authority may file.
  • Original signatures are not required.

If the nonprofit was formed outside of Massachusetts (Foreign):

Agency:Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
Form:

Annual Report

Filing method:

Mail, in-person, or online

Agency fee:

$109 for online and $125 by mail.

Due:

Annually by two and a half months after the end of the organization's fiscal year.

Law:

M.G.L.A. c156D, § 16.22 (2004); 950 CMR 113.57.

Penalties:

$25 late fee.

Notes:
  • Anyone with authority may file.
  • Original signatures are not required.
5 Renew the Charitable Solicitation Registration

Massachusetts Charity Registration

Agency:Massachusetts Attorney General - Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division
Law:

Massachusetts General Laws Ch 12, §8e and 8f; Ch 68 §18 through 35

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Religious organizations
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Appeals for individuals
  • The American National Red Cross and certain veterans organizations
  • Charities that receive $5,000 or less during a fiscal year and do not use professional solicitors
  • Charities that receive contributions from 10 people or less per year

Initial Registration

Form:

In-state nonprofits file the Form PC. Out-of-state nonprofits file the URS.

Instructions:

Note that separate from fundraising registration, ALL nonprofits doing business in Massachusetts must register with the Attorney General's Office (AGO) and file annual financial reports.

Filing method:

Mail

Agency fee:

Initial registration fee of $100 plus:

  • $50 Schedule A-2 fee for organizations registering before their initial fiscal year end date, or
  • $35-$2,000 (depending on gross support and revenue) for organizations registering in subsequent fiscal years
Due:

"ALL public charities doing business in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must register with the Non-Profits/Public Charities Division and, thereafter, file annual financial reports with the AGO. Upon registration, the AGO will assign the public charity an Attorney General Account Number (AG Number). Any charities that wish to solicit funds must also obtain a "Certificate for Solicitation" before engaging in fundraising activities." - mass.gov

Notes:
  • As of September 2014, the Short Form PC is no longer being accepted as a registration document.
  • Note the list of attachments that first-time registrants must attach to the application. This includes disclosing contracts with professional fundraisers.
  • The President and another officer or trustee must sign. Signatures need not be notarized.
  • Some Massachusetts counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.

Registration Renewal

Form:

Form PC. Even exempt organizations must file.

Filing method:

Mail

Agency fee:

$35-$2,000, depending on gross support and revenue.

Due:

Due annually by 4.5 months after the close of your nonprofit's fiscal year. So if your fiscal calendar ends December 31, then the renewal is due May 15.

Notes:
  • Attach a copy of your IRS Form 990
  • Charities raising $200K+ must submit a financial statement

Change of Fiscal Year

Form:

Form PC

Notes:

Send a cover letter explaining the change in fiscal year along with the Form PC and a copy of the amended Articles of Incorporation.

6Maintain a Massachusetts Registered Agent

Maintain a registered agent that has a street address in Massachusetts. 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 Pittsfield , MA to maintain compliance with the state requirement.

Harbor Compliance® proudly partners with the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network to provide insightful resources and compliance solutions to nonprofits in Massachusetts.



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Fundraising Compliance

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