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State-By-State Initial Compliance - Massachusetts

Initial Filings for Massachusetts Nonprofit Organizations

For a general discussion on starting a nonprofit organization, please refer to our article, Starting a Nonprofit Organization.

To view annual filing requirements for Massachusetts nonprofit organizations, refer to our annual filings page:www.hurwitassociates.com/l_s_annual_ma.php.

  1. To Incorporate in Massachusetts

    Submit Articles of Organization to:

    Secretary of State
    Corporations Division
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    One Ashburton Place, 17th Floor
    Boston, MA 02108
    Information: (617) 727-2850
    Forms: (617) 727-9440
    Web Site: www.sec.state.ma.us/cor/coridx.htm
    Filing Fee: $35
  2. To Obtain 501(c) Tax-Exempt Status

    a. Submit Form 1023 (501(c)(3) organizations) or 1024 (other 501(c) organizations), Application for Recognition of Exemption to:

    Note new address:
    Internal Revenue Service
    P.O. Box 12192
    Covington, KY 41012-0192
    Information: (800) 829-1040
    Forms: (800) 829-3676
    Web Site: www.irs.gov/charities
    Form 1023 Filing Fee: $850 ($275 for IRS Form 1023-EZ)
    Form 1024 Filing Fee: $850 ($400 if annual receipts will average not more than $10,000 in the first 4 years)
    Note: Certain 501(c)(3) organizations, including those with gross revenues at or below $50,000 annually, may qualify to file the online Form 1023-EZ, Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption. For more information and to determine if you are eligible for this form, refer to our Form 1023-EZ FAQ.

    b. 501(c)(4) organizations formed after July 8, 2016 must file Form 8976, Notice of Intent to Operate Under Section 501(c)(4), electronically within 60 days of formation:

    Web Site: services.irs.gov/datamart/login.do
    Filing Fee: $50 (This fee must be paid through the pay.gov website)
    Notes: This filing must be completed by all 501(c)(4) organizations - including "self-declaring" organizations that do not file IRS Form 1024.
    For more information about this filing, refer to the IRS website.
  3. To Obtain Massachusetts Income Tax and Sales Tax Exemptions

    Register with the Department of Revenue online:http://www.dor.state.ma.us

    Nonprofit Unit
    Department of Revenue
    Data Integration Bureau
    P.O. Box 7022
    Boston, MA 02204
    Info. & Forms: (617) 887-6367
    Web Site: www.dor.state.ma.us
    Filing Fee: $0
  4. To Register with the Massachusetts Attorney General

    Submit Articles of Organization, Bylaws, IRS Determination Letter and a list of the current officers/directors to:

    Division of Public Charities
    Office of the Attorney General
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    One Ashburton Place, Room 1413
    Boston, MA 02108
    Info. & Forms: (617) 727-2200
    Web Site: www.mass.gov/ago
    Filing Fee: $100 (plus an additional $50 if filing the Short Form PC; check the sliding fee schedule if filing the full Form PC)
    Notes: All charities, as defined by the Massachusetts Attorney General (read their definition of a charity), are required to register.

    Depending upon how long the organization has been in existence and whether or not it intends to solicit funds, it may be required to file the Short Form PC or a full Form PC with its initial registration. Please refer to the Attorney General's website for more information on initial registration.

Massachusetts Employment Filings

If the organization will have employees, the following filings are also required:

  1. To Register with the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance

    Complete the online registration for an unemployment insurance account.

    Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance
    Charles F. Hurley Building
    19 Staniford Street
    Boston, MA 02114
    Information: 617-626-5075
    Web Site: www.mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/
    Note: For more information, refer to the Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Employer's Guide to Unemployment Insurance.
  2. To Register with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue

    Complete the online registration for a withholding account.

    Nonprofit Unit
    Department of Revenue
    Data Integration Bureau
    P.O. Box 7022
    Boston, MA 02204
    Info. & Forms: (617) 887-6367
    Web Site: www.dor.state.ma.us
    Note: If you have already completed the online registration with the Department of Revenue to request exemption from income and sales taxes (see item #3 above), you need only manage your existing profile to indicate the hiring of employees and register for wage withholding.

Important note about unemployment insurance: Many states allow nonprofit organizations to fund unemployment insurance benefits on a reimbursable basis. This method of funding unemployment insurance may require additional filings not listed here. Furthermore, electing this method may require the organization to register and file in paper format. Organizations contemplating this method of funding their unemployment insurance obligations should check with the appropriate state office administering the unemployment insurance in that state.

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