Nonprofit Compliance Guide

Welcome to our nonprofit compliance guide! The resources in this guide are designed to help you understand what it takes to maintain compliance for a 501(c) nonprofit. This page provides an introduction to compliance and a reference table of the requirements in each state. You can click on any state to get more information.




What is compliance?

Nonprofits are held to a high standard of government regulation and public scrutiny. And that is with good reason! Eligible 501(c) nonprofits are exempt from federal corporate taxes and have access to public funding. These benefits are not typically available to for-profit businesses, so laws are in place to protect the public and ensure nonprofits do not abuse their financial advantages. The IRS and states all have requirements for nonprofits.

Why is compliance important?

While 501(c) nonprofits receive key financial benefits, the penalties for noncompliance can be serious. The IRS can revoke a nonprofit’s tax exemption and impose fines that can accrue daily. The states can administratively dissolve a nonprofit corporation and levy steep financial penalties. Perhaps worst of all, an organization can lose out on a grant or large donation because it has not kept itself in good standing.

Taking a proactive approach to compliance helps ensure the sustained success of the organization. The cost of staying compliant is small in comparison to the much larger costs of noncompliance. The saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” could not be more true in this context.

What are the key aspects of compliance?

The IRS provides tax exemptions to eligible nonprofits under IRC 501(c). Public charities and private foundations receive 501(c)(3) tax exemption. The IRS scrutinizes organizations when they apply for 501(c)(3) but also ensures that those organizations meet the ongoing obligations to remain eligible. Nonprofits must file a 990 tax form each year with the IRS to disclose their financial data for the year.

Each state has their own set of requirements. Nonprofits are typically incorporated in a given state as a nonprofit corporation. The state in which the nonprofit has incorporated will impose requirements on the nonprofit, and those responsibilities typically span across multiple state agencies. Usually nonprofits must submit an annual filing to the corporations division of the secretary of state, maintain its license to fundraise (charitable solicitation registration), file for a state business license, and maintain state-level tax exemption with the revenue department. As nonprofits expand outside of the state or operate nationwide, they must comply with the same items in each other state as well.

In addition to IRS and state filing requirements, nonprofits must keep adequate records. Keeping accurate and complete records is critical in the event that an organization is audited. It is also common that board members or donors request information from the organization. Finally, records are necessary for submitting applications and renewal filings with various government agencies.

Reference of State Requirements

State Annual Report Fundraising Business License

Alabama

More info
Annual Report:

No annual report is required for a domestic or foreign Alabama nonprofit corporation with a 501 (c) exemption. However, Alabama nonprofits must file charitable registration with the Attorney General.

Charitable Organization Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually within 90 days after the close or your organization's fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, then the report is due March 31st. 

Fee:

$25

Privilege License:
Due:

Annually by September 30.

Fee:

$0

Alaska

More info
Biennial Report:
Due:

July 2nd. If you initially filed/registered in an even numbered year the Biennial Report will be due in July of every even numbered year. If you initially filed in an odd numbered year the Biennial Report will be due in July of every odd numbered year. You can start filing 3 months prior.

Fee:

$25 for nonprofit corporations. $100 for cooperative corporations. $25 for religious corporations.

Charitable Organization Registration:
Due:

Renewals are due annually by September 1st. Do not let this lapse - while there is no late fee you are not authorized to solicit until you get approval. 

Fee:

$40 payable to "State of Alaska"

State Business License:
Due:

Annually or Biennially by December 31 depending on if you paid for one year or two.

Fee:

$50 for annual or $100 for biennial.

Arizona

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by date of initial registration.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

As of September 13, 2013, Arizona no longer requires charitable solicitation fundraising registration or renewal.

Arkansas

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by August 1.

Fee:

$0

Charitable Organization Renewal Form:
Due:

Due annually by May 15 for charities with a December 31st fiscal year end. Renewal is due within 6 months fiscal year end for charities with non-December 31st fiscal year end dates.

Fee:

$0

California

More info
Statement of Information:
Due:

Bienially by the end of the month when the Articles of Incorporation were initially filed. Can be submitted up to 5 months prior to this date.

Fee:

$20; Agricultural cooperative corporations: $25.

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4.5 months after the close of your organization's fiscal year. If your fiscal year closes December 31st, then renewal is due May 15th. 

Fee:

$0-300, depending on gross annual revenue

Colorado

More info
Periodic Report:
Due:

Annually during the three-month period beginning with the first day of the entity’s anniversary month of formation. For example, if an entity was formed on January 15, the Periodic Report would be due each subsequent year between January 1 and March 31.

Fee:

$10

Online Charity Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4.5 months after the close of your organization's fiscal year. If your fiscal year closes December 31st, then renewal is due May 15th.

Fee:

$10

Connecticut

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by the end of the month when the organization was first registered.

Fee:

$50

Charitable Organization Renewal Notice:
Due:

New applications are due annually eleven (11) months after the organization’s fiscal year ends. For example, December year-ends are due by November 30.

Fee:

$50

Delaware

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by March 1. The first report is due in the calendar year following initial registration.

Fee:

$25

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Delaware charitable solicitation law does not require charities soliciting donations to register with the state; however, they must provide ample disclosures during the solicitation process.

In addition, if non-profits activities are conducted in Delaware, the organization must file a copy of Federal Form 990 with the Delaware Attorney General. File annually according to your fiscal year or as Form 990 becomes available.

District of Columbia

More info
Biennial Report:
Due:

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

Fee:

$80

Charitable Solicitation License:
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.

Fee:

$412.50

Basic Business License:
Due:

Biennially.

Fee:

Varies by required license type: $412.50 for Charitable Solicitation, $0 for Charitable Exempt, or $324.50 for General Business.

Florida

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by May 1.

Fee:

$61.25

Charitable Organizations/Sponsors Renewal Application:
Due:

Your license must be renewed annually between your intial registration date and 60 days prior.

Fee:

$10-400, depending on contributions received during the prior fiscal year

Georgia

More info
Annual Registration:
Due:

Annually by April 1.

Fee:

$30

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Your license must be renewed bienially by the registration date. If you registered on January 15, 2016, your registration is due by January 15, 2018.

Fee:

$20

Hawaii

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annual reports must be filed during the quarter that contains the registration anniversary date. For example, if you registered on February 14th, then you must file your annual report between January 1st and March 31st. The due dates are March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st.

Fee:

$5

Charity Registration Renewal:
Due:

Due annually by the same day as your IRS Form 990; that is, 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, then your renewal is due May 15th.

Fee:

$10-750, depending on annual gross revenue

Idaho

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Last day of registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due by March 31st.

Fee:

$0

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Illinois

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by the end of the month prior to the corporation anniversary month. Can be filed up to 60 days prior to the start of the anniversary month.

Fee:

$10; filing online requires a $50 expedite fee.

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

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

Fee:

$15. Late fee is $100.

Indiana

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Biennially by the end of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every two years by March 31st.

Fee:

$20 for mail or $22 for online.

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Iowa

More info
Biennial Report:
Due:

By April 1 of odd years.

Fee:

$0

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Kansas

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by the 15th day of the 6th month after the close of your fiscal year, usually June 15th. May be filed as early as January 1.

Fee:

$40

Registration Statement for Solicitations:
Due:

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

Fee:

$35

Kentucky

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by June 30. Can be filed as early as January 1. 

Fee:

$15

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

If the URS is filed, then registration expires annually on December 31st, otherwise it is due annually by 4 months and 15 days after the organization's fiscal year end.

Fee:

$0

Louisiana

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by registration anniversary.

Fee:

$15

URS Multi-State Registration:
Due:

Annually by the end of the month of initial registration.

Fee:

$25

Maine

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by June 1.

Fee:

$35

Charitable Organization Renewal:
Due:

Renew annually by November 30th.

Fee:

$50

Maryland

More info
Personal Property Return:
Due:

Annually by April 15.

Fee:

$0

Maryland Annual Update of Registration:
Due:

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

Fee:

$0-300, depending on charitable contributions

Massachusetts

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by November 1.

Fee:

$15 for mail, $18.50 for online.

Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Renewal:
Due:

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

Fee:

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

Michigan

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by October 1 beginning the year following incorporation.

Fee:

$20

Solicitation Registration Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 5 months after the close of your nonprofit's fiscal year. So if your fiscal calendar ends December 31st, then the renewal is due May 31st.

Fee:

$0

Minnesota

More info
Annual Renewal:
Due:

Annually by December 31. 

Fee:

$0 

Charitable Organization Renewal Registration :
Due:

Renewal is due annually 6.5 months after the close of your nonprofit's fiscal year. So if your fiscal calendar ends December 31st, then the renewal is due July 15th.

Fee:

$25

Mississippi

More info
Status Report:
Due:

90 days from date requested. The secretary may request a report every five years.

Fee:

$25

Renewal of Registration:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4 months and 15 days after the charity's fiscal year end. If your fiscal year ends on December 31, renewal is due by May 15.

Fee:

$50

Missouri

More info
Registration Report:
Due:

Annually by August 31.

Fee:

$15 by mail or $10 online.

Charitable Organization Annual Report:
Due:

Registered nonprofits must file annually within 75 days of the end of their fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, renewal is due March 15th.

Fee:

$15

Montana

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by April 15.

Fee:

$15

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Nebraska

More info
Biennial Report:
Due:

By April 1 of every odd numbered year.

Fee:

$20

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Nevada

More info
Annual List of Officers:
Due:

File an annual report by the end of your registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every year by March 31st.

Fee:

$50 (+ $200 unless you have 501(c) exemption.)

Charitable Solicitation Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually at the same time as your Nevada Nonprofit Annual List of Officers Report.

Fee:

$0

New Hampshire

More info
Return:
Due:

By December 31 every 5 years following 2015. 

Fee:

$25

Annual Report Certificate:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, renewal is due May 15th.

Fee:

$75

New Jersey

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by date of incorporation/registration.

Fee:

$27

Charitable Organization Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 6 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, renewal is due June 30th.

Fee:

$30-250, depending on gross contributions. Make check payable to "Public Records Filing for a New Business Entity"

New Mexico

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by four months and fifteen days after the close or your taxable year, usually May 15th. Confused? Look-up your corporate record and next report due date here.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Due annually 6 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, renewal is due June 30th.

Fee:

$0

New York

More info
Annual Report:

Domestic and foreign New York nonprofits are not required to file an annual/biennial corporate report with the New York Department of State.

Annual Filing for Charitable Organizations:
Due:

Due annually 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, renewal is due May 15th.

Fee:

$10-25, depending on total support and revenue

North Carolina

More info
Annual report:

Not required.

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, renewal is due May 15th.

Fee:

$0-200, depending on contributions

North Dakota

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by February 1.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Organization Annual Report:
Due:

Due annually by September 1st. If you file in July/August, you get a waiver until the following September.

Fee:

$10

Ohio

More info
Statement of Continued Existence:
Due:

Every 5 years if no other filing has been submitted. Due by the end of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your five-year report is due March 31st.

Fee:

$25

Charitable Registration Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4.5 months after the end of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, then renewal is due May 15th.

Fee:

$0-200, depending on contributions received from Ohio residents during the preceding fiscal year

Oklahoma

More info
Franchise Tax Return:
Due:
Fee:
Registration Statement of Charitable Organization:
Due:

Renewal is due annually before the anniversary of your previous renewal filing. This means that your renewal date will change every year unless you file on the same day every year. You will NOT receive a renewal reminder.

Fee:

$15-65, depending on contributions

Oregon

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by your registration anniversary day. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every year by March 15th. You may start filing 45 days prior.

Fee:

$50

Renewal for Charitable Organizations:
Due:

Due annually 4.5 months after the close or your organization's fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, then the report is due May 15th.

Fee:

$10-200, depending on Oregon revenue and fund balance held in Oregon. Make check payable to "Oregon Department of Justice"

Pennsylvania

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

By April 30 of each year where there has been a change in corporate officers during the preceding calendar year.

The decennial report is due every ten years if no other filings have been made during the ten year period. The next report is due in 2021.

Fee:

$0

$70

Charitable Organization Registration Statement:
Due:

Due annually 10.5 months after the end of the fiscal year every year.

Fee:

$15-250, depending on gross contributions

Rhode Island

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by June 30. You can start filing June 1.

Fee:

$20

Charitable Organizations Application:
Due:

By the anniversary of initial registration.

Fee:

$90

South Carolina

More info
Exempt Organization Business Tax Return:
Due:

Annually by the fifteenth day of the fifth month after the end of the tax year. 

Fee:
Registration Statement for a Charitable Organization:
Due:

Renewal must be filed annually within 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, then file by May 15th.

Fee:

$50 ($0 for exemption renewal)

Annual Financial Report:
Due:

Due annually 4.5 months after fiscal year end. So if your organization's fiscal year ends December 31st, the report is due May 15th.

Fee:

$0

South Dakota

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

By the end of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every by March 31st.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Tennessee

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

By the 1st day of the 4th month after the close of your fiscal year. Usually your fiscal year ends on December 31st and so your annual report is due April 1st.

Fee:

$20 + optional $2.25 online filing fee

Application to Renew Registration of a Charitable Organization:
Due:

Renewal must be filed annually within 6 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if yoru fiscal year ends December 31st, then file by June 30th.

Fee:

$80-240, depending on gross revenue

Texas

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Once exempt from filing public information reports, the secretary may request a periodic report once every 4 years and the request will state the due date.

Fee:

$5

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Renewal for Telephone Solicitation and Public Safety, Promotors, and Publications is due annually by the registration anniversary date.

Fee:
Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Due annually 4.5 months after fiscal year end. So if your fiscal year ends December 31st, file by May 15th.

Fee:

Utah

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by your registration anniversary day. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every year by March 15th. You can start filing 60 days prior.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Organization Permit Application Form:
Due:

Your permit to solicit expires annually on the upcoming quarterly due date based on registration date: January 1, April 1, July 1, or October 1. So if your permit was issued on April 15th, it will expire on July 1st.

Fee:

$78

Vermont

More info
Biennial Report:
Due:

Biennially by April 1st. Can be filed after January 1.

Fee:

$20

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.

Virginia

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

By the end of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every year by March 31st.

Fee:

$25

Charitable Solicitation Registration:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 4.5 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal calendar ends December 31st, then renewal is due by May 15th.

Fee:

$30-250, depending on gross contributions

Washington

More info
Annual Review:
Due:

By the end of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every year by March 31st. You may start filing 45 days prior.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Organization Renewal:
Due:

Renewal is due annually 11 months after the close of your fiscal year. So if your fiscal calendar ends December 31st, then renewal is due by November 30th.

Fee:

$40 + optional $50 expedite fee for 2-3 business day processing

State Business License:
Due:

Only after changes or updates to the business.

Fee:

$19.

West Virginia

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by July 1.

Fee:

$25

Registration of Charitable Organization:
Due:

Renewal is due annually by the anniverary of your initial registration.

Fee:

$15-50, depending on the type of organization

Wisconsin

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by the end of the registration anniversary quarter. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on February 15th, then your annual report is due every year by the end of the first quarter on March 31st. The due dates are March 31st, June 30th, September 30th, and December 31st.

Fee:

$10

Charitable Organization Renewal:
Due:

Annually by July 31.

Fee:

$54

Charitable Organization Annual Financial Report:
Due:

You must file an annual financial report within 12 months after the close of your fiscal year if you received >$5,000 in contributions.

Fee:

$0

Wyoming

More info
Annual Report:
Due:

Annually by the first day of the registration anniversary month. So if you incorporated or foreign-qualified on March 15th, then your annual report is due every year by March 1st.

Fee:

$25. An additional $2-$9 convenience fee is charged for online filing.

Charitable Solicitation Registration:

Not required.


This page was last fact-checked September 30, 2014.

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