A nonprofit organization may be required to register and report in more than one state. However, there are ten states that have no registration and reporting requirements for nonprofits. It must register and report annually to the Secretary of State’s office in the state in which it is active.
To be defined as active requires only a minimum of activity. Even a solicited contribution by mail or email to any resident of the state qualifies it as active. In order to provide adequate information to the state, a nonprofit’s audited financial statements can be used.
If the nonprofit must file in multiple states, many states use the Uniform Registration Form to help standardize information. Form 990 is required by the IRS although most nonprofits approved under Section 501 (c) are exempt from federal taxes. Whereas individual tax forms are guarded as confidential by law, form 990 is available to anyone who requests it from the IRS.
Someone may request it directly from the nonprofit or it may be found online. A nonprofit’s financial information is disclosed to the public, including salaries and other data. Therefore, it is crucial board members review the information filed with federal and state agencies for accuracy.
There are also a variety of charitable rating groups and websites that publicize information about nonprofits. Board members should also monitor these to see what is being written about their organization. A nonprofit’s reputation must be guarded and kept credible in order to solicit future donations as well as to accomplish its mission.