Unified Registration Statement
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The Unified Registration Statement (URS) is a consolidated registration form to assist nonprofits who need to file charitable solicitation registration in multiple states. 32 jurisdictions accept the URS out of the 40 jurisdictions that require registration (as of URS version 4.02, March 2014). The exceptions are: Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.
Because the URS consolidates filing information across states (as opposed to simplifying it), it is a rather lengthy form. On top of that, 13 states require supplements. If your nonprofit only needs to
Even with standardization efforts like the URS, multi-state charitable registration is an administrative burden. We help our nonprofit clients with all aspects of planning, registering, and managing compliant regional and national fundraising campaigns. Give us a call to learn how our turn-key compliance can help your organization.
How to File the URS
The process to file fundraising registration using the URS is:
- In your first year, determine in which states you need to file initial registration, an exemption request, or do not need to file due to an exemption.
- In subsequent years, determine in which states you need to file renewal registration, an exemption renewal, or do not need to file due to an exemption. It is important to confirm any exemptions from previous years still apply.
- Download the URS form and each state's supplement forms from http://www.multistatefiling.org/.
- Determine if any state requires your annual financial statement to be reviewed / audited by a CPA. See the checklist (audit column). If so, start this process early.
Prepare the URS
- Fill out the URS, leaving state-specific fields blank
- Duplicate the URS for the number of states you want to file in
Prepare each state's filing
- Complete the URS state-specific fields
- Attach state-required supplemental forms
- Include each state's required attachments such as your IRS determination letter, fundraising contracts, bylaws, articles of incorporation, IRS Form 990, and audited financial statements. See the checklist.
- Include payment to the state
- Provide the appropriate authorized signatures per state requirements (some states require specific signers and notarization)
- Submit the application to each filing authority
- Follow up to ensure approval
- As you receive approvals, store licenses and other important documents in your records.
- Update your calendar of renewals for the next year. In some states this will fluctuate with the date you receive approval.
- Ensure your donor disclosures are up-to-date.
- Some states require you to have records available to potential donors (e.g. financials) for public scrutiny. Ensure these are readily available and up-to-date as required by law.
When to File the URS
Raising funds through mass-mail, telephone campaigns, or national advertising can subject your
organization to registration requirements in multiple states. It doesn't matter whether employees,
volunteers, or third-parties execute the campaign. Raising funds through the internet, email, or social
media is a special class of solicitation - please see our guide for online fundraising.
Ideally you could prepare and file the URS simultaneously for all states. In reality, your will launch fundraising at different points throughout the year. Remember that initial registration must be approved before you solicit, so call us to start this process early. In addition, each state has their own calendar for renewal and extensions. The big push for renewal comes in the months following the close of your fiscal year and after your Form 990 is available (usually February-May).
As your nonprofit grows, we would be delighted to serve as your partner in compliance.