Charity Registration Roundup

Image by jiiji, Flickr Creative Commons license
Image by jiiji, Flickr Creative Commons license

Charity Registration—the requirements that charities register with state authorities in each state where they conduct solicitations for donations—doesn’t change much, so I’ve been holding a bunch of news for a roundup. Each state has its own fee structure, timing, definition of “solicitation,” exemptions and sheath of forms (there’s some uniformity here, but also lots of variation).

These laws are a morass. Good thing they don’t change often.

Here’s what I’ve got:

Delaware will tighten registration. I always advise clients to register as a foreign corporation doing business in Delaware. Other states, too. I am quick to add that other consultants disagree with me, saying those states without charitable solicitation acts don’t require registration. The answer hinges on what is “doing business” in a state, and I believe soliciting donations is doing business (unless a state like Nebraska says otherwise).

The question will soon be moot in Delaware because a bill that has the support of the state’s nonprofit association, Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, seems likely to become law, enacting the Delaware Charitable Solicitation Act of 2013.

Really want to read it? OK.

Beyond the “foreign corporation” registration, which is not devoted to charitable work, since 1996 the state has had a statute mostly limited to fraud prevention in solicitations. That law will be replaced by the new act.

Arizona repealed registration. Last summer, Arizona eliminated registration. The secretary of state says any filing after 9/13/13 will be returned.

Unless you’re a vets organization. Then you must register with this form. That’s part of my adoration for Charity Registration: the string of laws, exemptions, exceptions, and exceptions to the exemptions. In each state.

Another person has a sense of humor with all this. I laugh at it often. I’m not alone. From @salmanj10, this 2010 tweet: “London hostage/death threat. Look for charities with long standing charity registration.”

It’s just as bad in the U.S.

New York made a small change. The Nonprofit Revitalization Act passed in December with a positive change in registration for all charities soliciting here, regardless of where you’re incorporated. The threshold for submitting an audited financial statement is $500,000 in annual gross revenue, up from $250,000.

That’s good news! I’m all for making it easier and less expensive for small- and mid-size charities.

The new law makes sweeping changes for nonprofits formed in New York around governance, conflicts of interest, financial oversight and whistleblowers. (NY attorney general’s press release)

Most of the provisions take effect this July 1. You really don’t want to read this beast. Trust me. OK, it’s your life.

United Way ED resigned. The executive director at United Way of the Virginias resigned after it came to light late last year that the organization lost its charity solicitation authority back in 2008, for failure to keep up with registration.

As much of a morass as it is, you have to keep up with Charity Registration.

 

 

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