IRS Continues Inquiry On Charity Registration Compliance

IRS building courtesy of Foist on Flickr
IRS building courtesy of Foist on Flickr
The IRS form 990 for 2012 has been released, and it continues to inquire about your office’s compliance with Charity Registration laws in the states where you solicit donations.

There have been significant changes to the form and its shorter sibling the 990-EZ.

But the Charity Registration inquiries remain.

Part VI, question 17 asks you to list the states in which you are required to file form 990. That is a basic part of registration in nearly every state. If you’re required to register before you solicit in a state, odds are you’ll be required to include the 990 with your application.

This is the federal agency’s oblique way of gaining jurisdiction–or legitimacy–to inquire about your compliance with state laws. It’s interesting.

Schedule G, part I, question 3 has you explicitly list the states in which you’re registered to solicit, or have been notified you’re exempt.

I hate to nitpick, but you won’t necessarily be notified by a state if you’re exempt there. In a good number of states, you determine exemption on your own and make no filing. In others you must file for exemption and be approved.

Every charity doesn’t submit this schedule with its 990. You file schedule G if, among other things, you spent more than $15,000 for professional fundraising services or reported more than that in fundraising event gross income. (See form 990, part IV, questions 17-19.)

Form 990 is signed by an officer under penalty of perjury. (See part II.)

There are precious few places where our IRS inquires about your compliance with state laws where you solicit donations.

But they’re alive and thriving.

If you want a fuller explanation of Charity Registration, take a look at the article I published in the journal “Taxation of Exempts.”

CMA Section: I am not your attorney or your accountant. Seek the advice of your professional advisors in all matters of IRS compliance.

2 thoughts on “IRS Continues Inquiry On Charity Registration Compliance

  1. Tony: Also important, I understand that, IF AUDITED, the IRS is looking for the board of directors to be involved with the development of the 990 each year. I have seen situations where the board involvement takes place only when the 990 is passed out for routine board approval, not any real board involvement

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