Washington Nonprofit Compliance

Required annual filings

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

Combined Excise Tax Return 

Instructions:

Nonprofit Organizations Industry Guide

Due:

January 31

Fact Checked:9/4/15
3 File Washington Corporate Tax Exemption Renewals

Not required



In Washington, nonprofit organizations are generally taxed like any other business. They must pay business and occupation (B&O) tax on gross revenues generated from regular business activities they conduct. They must pay sales tax on all goods and retail services they purchase as consumers, such as supplies, lodging, equipment, and construction services. In addition, nonprofit organizations must collect and remit retail sales tax on their sales of goods and retail services.

More information: Washington Department of Revenue
4 File Washington Sales Tax Exemption Renewals

Not required



Washington does not currently have a state level sales tax.

More information: Washington Department of Revenue
5 File Washington Property Tax Exemption Renewals
Agency:Washington Department of Revenue
Instructions:

Washington Department of Revenue Nonprofit Organizations Industry Guide

Due:

March 31

Notes:

The Department of Revenue will mail a postcard to each applicant annually in January reminding the applicant to renew their exemption.

Fact Checked:9/4/15
6 File Washington Annual Review
Agency:Washington Secretary of State - Corporations Division
Form:

Paper Annual Report

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$10

Due:

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

Law:

RCW § 24.03.395

Penalties:

$25 late fee. Your business also risks being dissolved or revoked.

Notes:
  • Anyone with authority may file.
  • Original signatures are not required.
  • Expedited service is available for an additional $50.
Fact Checked:9/10/18
7 Renew the Charitable Solicitation Registration

Washington Charitable Organization Registration

Agency:Washington Secretary of State - Charities Program
Law:

Washington Revised Code Annotated §19.09.020 and following; Washington Administrative Code §434-120-100 through 434-120-175

Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No
Fact Checked:1/16/19

Automatic Exemption

Exemption Eligible Organizations:
  • Organizations that raise less than $50,000 from the public in any accounting year when all the activities of the organization, including all fundraising activities, are performed by volunteers
  • Appeals for funds on behalf of a specific individual named in the solicitation, but only if all of the proceeds of the solicitation are given to or expended for the direct benefit of that individual
  • Churches and their integrated auxiliaries
  • Political organizations
Law:

RCW 19.09.020 and RCW 19.09.081

Notes:

Exempt organizations can elect to file an Optional Registration for Charitable Organization application with the secretary of state.

Fact Checked:1/16/20

Initial Registration

Form:

Charitable Organization Registration / Renewal (Including the WA State Combined Fund Drive)

Instructions:

Washington Charitable Organization Registration Instructions

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$60 + optional $50 expedite fee for 2-3 business day processing. ($0 if exempt)

Notes:
  • The URS is no longer accepted as of September 12, 2014.
  • Note the list of attachments that first-time registrants must attach to the application. This includes disclosing contracts with professional fundraisers.
  • Some Washington counties and municipalities may require charities that solicit in-person to register prior to fundraising.
Fact Checked:2/5/19

Registration Renewal

Form:

Charitable Organization Registration / Renewal

Instructions:

Washington Charitable Organization Registration Instructions

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

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

Due:

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

Penalties:

There is a late fee of $50.

Notes:
  • The late fee is assessed by the received date, not the postmarked date. The state accepts overnight/express mail at a different mailing address.
  • Attach your annual financial report.
  • The URS is no longer accepted as of September 12, 2014.
Fact Checked:2/5/19

Contract Filing

Form:

Fundraising Service Contract Registration

Agency Fee:

$20

Due:

Before a charitable organization may contract with a commercial fund-raiser for any fund-raising service or activity, the charitable organization and commercial fund-raiser shall complete and file a registration form with the secretary. The registration must be filed by the charitable organization on the form approved by the secretary.

Fact Checked:8/5/19

Change of Fiscal Year

Form:

Charitable Organization Amendment

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$0 by mail or $20 online.

Turnaround:

1-2 business days

Fact Checked:12/7/18
8Maintain a Washington Registered Agent

Maintain a registered agent that has a street address in Washington. 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 Spokane , WA 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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