State Fundraising Registration

Did you know most states require 501c3 organizations (and most other 501c’s) to register in their state before soliciting donations from the public?    Failure to register fundraising activities can result in civil and criminal penalties that are levied by the Secretary of State or Attorney General’s office in each state.  

With state budgets tightening and an increase in fraudulent fundraising activity, enforcement is a top priority in many states.   Each state determines what activities constitute fundraising and the financial thresholds (total amount of funds raised) that require registration.

  Issues to consider:

  • Does having website with a “donate now” button require registration in states from which donations are received?
  • Will crossing state lines during a fundraising event trigger charitable registration, even if the organization does not have a physical location in that state?
  • Are religious organizations exempt from registration in all states?
  • Which states require a copy of the IRS determination letter and most recent 990 informational tax return before allowing solicitations?
  • Does your state require annual financials or fundraising reports in addition to registration?

The answers to these questions depend on each organization’s specific situation.  To complicate matters, while there is a single registration form, the Uniform Registration Statement (URS), not all states accept the URS and some have additional registration or reporting requirements. 

The laws are constantly changing and you must stay informed. 

For example, the Nevada Legislature recently passed AB60, a fundraising registration requirement that takes effect January 1, 2014.   If all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry.  Our experts can help you with your state fundraising registration needs.   Give us a call for a free consultation.

*California Nonprofits, READ THIS.  Recently, there has been an increase in threatening letters and assessments from the California Franchise Tax Board, including automatic assessment of the minimum franchise tax ($800) and penalties to nonprofits who have failed to register or file FTB Form 3500.  If you have received one of these notices, our California licensed CPA can help.  Give us a call for more information.



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