Nonprofit Accounting Basics

State Registrations

Note: Articles published before January 1, 2017 may be out of date. We are in the process of updating this content.


Charitable Registration: Most states require nonprofits who solicit contributions in their state to be registered in that state. This generally means any of kind of solicitation including mailings and phone calls from another state. Large, national organizations often are required to register in all 40 plus states that require registration. After initial registration with a state, renewal forms must be filed each year to stay in compliance. Both state requirements and due dates for renewals vary considerably from state to state. There are fees associated with each filing.

Failure to register in a particular state can, in the most extreme case, result in the organization being barred from solicitation in the state and having to return contributions to contributors. Usually, however, first time penalties are much less draconian. This is not an area to ignore as investigation by a state attorney general, even if the penalty is minor, does not generate great publicity for a charitable organization.