Posted on October 18, 2023
New York Charitable Registration: How to Achieve Fundraising Compliance
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New York Charitable Registration: Non-profit organizations in the United States often face intricate fundraising regulations requiring them to register in individual states before soliciting donations. The state-specific fundraising registration process is crucial to ensure legal compliance and build trust among donors. Navigating these state charitable solicitation registration processes, in New York especially, can be nuanced.
If you’re new to charitable registration and would like information on how to achieve and maintain fundraising compliance in the state of New York, Affinity Fundraising Registration has created this step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process. Please keep in mind that this resource is for organizations that have already organized and filed Articles of Incorporation in their state of domicile. If you still need to start the process of incorporation, please refer to this article on incorporation and state forms.
First Things First: Determine if Registration is Required
State-specific fundraising registration is a legal requirement enforced by 41 states and the District of Columbia. These states mandate charitable organizations, professional solicitors, and, in some cases, fundraising counsels to register prior to any solicitation of funds.
The laws governing charitable solicitation vary widely from state to state, with some requiring registration before any funds are raised while others provide thresholds below which registration isn’t necessary. If you run a nonprofit that is planning to solicit funds, then you’ll need to be prepared to register your fundraising activities in each state that requires it.
In the state of New York, registration is required and must be completed through an online system. There are exceptions, however. The most common ones include religious organizations, educational institutions, legislative or political organizations, and any nonprofit that collects less than $25,000 in NY-based contributions per year from sources such as individual donors, grants from philanthropic foundations, and even corporate funding. If your organization falls under one of these exempted categories, you will likely not need to go through the registration process.
Register for Charitable Solicitation
If you’re planning to solicit charitable contributions in the state of New York, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is to register with the New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau. This office is responsible for overseeing and regulating nonprofits that are operating within the state. Registering your nonprofit with the Charities Bureau ensures that you comply with all legal requirements and allows you to solicit tax-deductible donations.
Keep in mind that registering has additional benefits and for those organizations that collect less than $25,000 in NY-based contributions per year and are statutorily exempt, they may still elect to complete their New York registration in order to be listed on the state database of registered charities.
Registering with the Charities Bureau involves filing the New York Registration Statement for Charitable Organizations Form (CHAR410). It should be noted that the CHAR410 is for unregistered organizations required to register with the Charities Bureau for the first time. Subsequent (annual) filings should be completed using the CHAR500 form.
In addition to filling out the CHAR 410 form, you will also need to submit the following supporting documents:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- IRS determination letter
- IRS Form 1023
- Form 990
- List of officers, directors, trustees, and key employees (name, title, and address)
- Chapter list – if applicable
- Audit (Not required unless you receive $25,000 or more in total contributions from NY sources AND your total income from all sources exceeds the NY audit threshold.)
- List of professional fundraisers or fundraising counsel
The final piece involved with registering with the Charities Bureau is to submit the $25 fee.
In all cases, whether you’re registering for the first time or filing a renewal, the state of New York will only allow registration through its online platform.
Ongoing Compliance Requirements
New York has multiple renewal requirements that need to be met in order to ensure your organization remains compliant and retains its charitable solicitation privileges. Unlike some states, New York does not require that a new registration be filed each year, but it does mandate that organizations file an annual report with the Charities Bureau using Form CHAR500. Along with the annual report, they also must submit a copy of their federal tax return (Form 990).
The renewal must be filed within 4 ½ months of the fiscal year end. All organizations must file the CHAR500 form online each year for annual renewal and it must be signed digitally by the President and the CFO or Treasurer. Schedule 4A must also be included if the organization has used a professional fundraiser, a fundraising counsel, or a commercial coventure.
Note that there are three registration types in the State of New York, and depending on your organization’s type, there may be additional schedules that pertain to your annual filing requirements.
The annual filing for charitable organizations also includes a mandatory fee. This fee is set on a sliding scale that is calculated using your organization’s type and other financial variables such as total revenue or net worth. The annual fee is $25, but for organizations with a NY presence that also need to pay the state’s EPTL fee, total costs can reach up to $1,500 for high-net-worth organizations.
Late Registration and Extensions
An extension of six months is automatically granted each year by the state and no action is required by the organization in order to receive this extension. If, however, you are delinquent in completing the charitable registration renewal process, the state could require you to complete back filings for missing reporting periods or re-register if an organization’s registration was terminated by using Form CHAR410-R and submitting a $150 re-registration fee.
Changes and Updates
It is important that nonprofits keep the state up to date on important changes such as a change in name or address. The organization has 30 days to notify the state through the submission of a CHAR410-A form along with payment of the $25 fee. This is not required if the information can be updated on the CHAR500 form.
If you are no longer soliciting funds within the state of New York and want to withdraw your registration, you must submit a letter stating the date the solicitations ceased and request your charitable solicitation registration be withdrawn.
Getting Help With the New York Charitable Registration and Solicitation Process
Although the process of registering your nonprofit for charitable solicitation in New York can seem straightforward at first glance, once you start to dig into the rules and stipulations, combined with sliding scales and multiple deadlines, ensuring that your organization maintains compliance can be quite challenging to manage.
At Affinity Fundraising Registration, we’ve assisted hundreds of nonprofits and have a thorough understanding of state-specific fundraising regulations. Our registration services help nonprofits raise funds legally in any state with options for those who want to do it themselves, as well as options for those who prefer to have a trusted professional handle all of the nitty-gritty details.
Whether you have a small nonprofit that only solicits in New York or a large nonprofit that engages in fundraising efforts all over the country, we can help! Visit our website to learn more about our fundraising registration support services or check out the Affinity Fundraising Registration resources page for resources related to state-specific fundraising registration.
The information provided on this page is intended purely for educational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information up until the published date. However, laws related to fundraising registration are subject to change, and variations may occur between states. Furthermore, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws can often be complex, and the specifics of your situation can impact how the law applies.
Affinity Fundraising Registration is not a law firm and, as such, cannot provide legal opinions. For all specific legal questions or concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified attorney who is experienced in nonprofit law and compliance. Hiring a legal professional ensures that your organization is fully aware of its obligations under the law and can act accordingly to remain compliant.
By using this site, you acknowledge that Affinity Fundraising Registration holds no liability for any consequences, legal or otherwise, resulting from actions taken based on the information provided on this page.