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Washington

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

Washington Registration and Compliance

Welcome to the registration and compliance page for Washington nonprofit organizations. Below you will find information on initial filings required to form a new nonprofit organization in Washington, annual filing requirements for existing organizations, and employment filings for nonprofits with employees. This page also contains a link to the relevant nonprofit statute for the State of Washington. To navigate to one of these sections, click on the appropriate link on the left of this page.

Our firm is also pleased to provide a complimentary compliance reminder service to remind you when your state and federal filings are coming due. To sign up for this service, click the “compliance reminder service” button to the left and complete our registration form.

Please feel free to call or email us if you have any registration, compliance or other legal needs or questions regarding your nonprofit organization. If you are forming a new organization, you may also be interested in the following additional resources:

Initial Filings for Washington Nonprofit Organizations

1. To Incorporate in Washington

Submit Articles of Incorporation to:

Secretary of State
Corporations Division
801 Capitol Way South
PO Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234

Information: (360) 725-0377
Web Site: www.secstate.wa.gov
Filing Fee: $30 (Expedited processing is available for an extra $50 fee)

Note: The Articles of Incorporation may be filed online using the Washington Nonprofit Corporations Online Registration

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. Washington Income and Business Taxes

There is no income tax in Washington. Generally, however, nonprofit organizations are subject to business and occupation taxes (which are calculated as a percentage of gross income from activities conducted in the state), and must register with the Department of Revenue to obtain a UBI (Unified Business Identifier). To do so the organization must submit a Business License Application to:

State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Information: (800) 451-7985
Web Site: business.wa.gov/BLS
Filing Fee: $19

4. To Obtain Washington Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Generally, nonprofit organizations must pay retail sales tax on all purchases of tangible personal property and must collect retail sales tax on their sales of such items.

However, nonprofits conducting qualifying fundraising activities may purchase goods and services that will be resold at these events without paying sales tax by issuing a resale certificate to the seller. Additionally, the income generated from the qualifying fundraising event is not subject to either retail sales tax or the business and occupation tax.

Nonprofit organizations must provide vendors with a resale certificate for purchases exempt from sales tax. Resale certificates can be found at the Department of Revenue's web site listed below.

Additional information on qualified exemptions can be obtained by reading the Department of Revenue's website summary of nonprofit organizations and their registration/filing requirements, or by contacting the Department of Revenue directly at:

Taxpayer Information & Education
Washington State Department of Revenue
PO Box 47478
Olympia, WA 98504-7478

Information: (800) 647-7706
Web Site: www.dor.wa.gov

5. To Register with the Secretary of State

If planning to solicit funds in Washington, submit the application to register as a charitable organization along with IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter and most recent IRS Form 990 to:

Washington Secretary of State
Charities Program
801 Capitol Way South
PO Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234

Information: (360) 725-0378
Web Site: www.sos.wa.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $60

Notes: Certain types of organizations and activities indicate whether or not a public charity is required to registered with the Charities Program. To determine if your organization is required to register, please review the Secretary of State's guidance: www.sos.wa.gov/charities/Charitable-Organizations.aspx

Expedited (two working days) service is available for an additional fee of $50.

The Unified Registration Statement (URS) form may be filed in place of this application. This can be found at the following website: www.multistatefiling.org. Note that Washington requires an appendix to be filed with the URS that lists beneficiaries in case of dissolution, the 3 highest paid employees of the organization and any pertinent supplemental financial information.


Annual Filings for Washington Nonprofit Organizations

1. Washington Department of Revenue

Form: Combined Excise Tax Return
Due Date: January 31

State of Washington
Department of Revenue
PO Box 47464
Olympia, WA 98504-7464

Information: (800) 647-7706
Web Site: www.dor.wa.gov/
Filing Fee: $0

Note: Refer to the Department of Revenue's website page for charities for details and exemptions.

2. Internal Revenue Service

Form: Annual Return Form 990
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Internal Revenue Service
Ogden, UT 84201-0027

Information: (800) 829-1040
Forms: (800) 829-3676
Web Site: www.irs.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $0

Public Charities: Refer to the IRS website to determine which form to file (Form 990, Form 990-EZ or Form 990-N).

Private Foundations: Submit Form 990PF, regardless of revenues.

3. Washington Secretary of State: Charities Division

Form: Charitable Organization Renewal
Due Date: 11 months after end of fiscal year (e.g. December 31st FYE = November 30th due date)

Office of the Secretary of State
Charities Program
801 Capitol Way South
PO Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234

Information: (360) 725-0378
Web Site: www.secstate.wa.gov/
Filing Fee: $40

4. Washington Secretary of State: Corporate Division

Form: Annual Report for Nonprofit Corporations
Due Date: Annually before the end of the calendar month during which the original Articles of Incorporation were filed

Secretary of State
Corporations Division
801 Capitol Way South
PO Box 40234
Olympia, WA 98504-0234

Information: (360) 725-0377
Web Site: www.secstate.wa.gov/
Filing Fee: $10

Note: The Annual Report may also be filed online at: corps2.sos.wa.gov/OnlineForms/Login.aspx?Option=S8b2byPpATemIkQVTN9QXQ==


Washington Employment Filings

If the organization will have employees, the following filing is required:

To Register with the Washington Employment Security Department

Complete the Business License Application online.

State of Washington
Business Licensing Service
PO Box 9034
Olympia, WA 98507-9034

Information: (800) 451-7985
Web Site: business.wa.gov/BLS

Note: If you have already completed the business license application, you must re-file when you hire employees for the first time.

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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