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California

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

California Registration and Compliance

Welcome to the registration and compliance page for California nonprofit organizations. Below you will find information on initial filings required to form a new nonprofit organization in California, 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 California. 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 California Nonprofit Organizations

1. To Incorporate in California

a. Submit Articles of Incorporation to:

Secretary of State
Business Entities
PO Box 944260
Sacramento, CA 94244-2600

Information: (916) 657-5448
Web Site: www.sos.ca.gov/
Filing Fee: $30

b. Within 90 days of filing the Articles of Incorporation, submit Form SI-100 (Statement of Information) to:

Secretary of State
Statement of Information Unit
P.O. Box 944230
Sacramento, CA 94244-2300

Information: (916) 657-5448
Web Site: www.sos.ca.gov/
Filing Fee: $20*

Notes: The Statement of Information may be filed online at: businessfilings.sos.ca.gov

Failure to file by the due date may result in the assessment of a $50 penalty.

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 California Income Tax Exemption

Submit Form FTB 3500 with Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and detailed financial statements, funding and activities, leases and literature samples to:

Exempt Organizations Unit MS F120
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 1286
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-1286

Information: (916) 845-4171
Web Site: www.ftb.ca.gov/
Filing Fee: $0

Notes: An organization may file the simpler Form 3500A if it already has a letter of determination from the IRS. Refer to the Exempt Organizations section of the Franchise Tax Board's website for details.

4. To Obtain California Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Nonprofit purchasers generally are not exempt from sales and use taxes. However, some charitable organizations that qualify for California's "welfare exemption" and are involved in selling or donating items used principally to assist purchasers/donees in distressed financial condition may qualify for exemption from sales taxes on purchases made for these purposes.

To apply for exemption, the organization should request a "review of eligibility" by submitting Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, a copy of the California Franchise Tax Board's tax-exempt qualification letter, and a letter describing the practices and activities of the organization to:

Compliance Planning & Evaluation
Board of Equalization
PO Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0002

Information: (800) 400-7115
Web Site: www.boe.ca.gov/
Filing Fee: $0

For more information on sales of specific items, or by specific types of nonprofit organizations that are exempt from California sales and use taxes, refer to California's "Publication 18".

5. To Register with the California Attorney General

Within 30 days of receiving assets for the charitable purposes for which organized, submit Form CT-1 (Registration Form) with Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, IRS Form 1023, IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, most recent IRS Form 990, and a statement describing the primary activity of the organization (a copy of the statement of purposes from the IRS 1023 application will suffice) to:

State of California
Office of the Attorney General
Registry of Charitable Trusts
PO Box 903447
Sacramento, CA 94203-4470

Phone: (916) 445-2021
Fax: (916) 444-3651
Web Site: oag.ca.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $25

Corporations organized and operated primarily as hospitals, schools or religious organizations are exempt from filing, but must furnish information substantiating such status to the above address. See California Government Code section 12583 for details.

The Unified Registration Statement form may be filed in place of form CT-1.


Annual Filings for California Nonprofit Organizations

1. California Attorney General

a. Form: Form RRF-1
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Registry of Charitable Trusts
PO Box 903447
Sacramento, CA 94203-4470

Information: (916) 445-2021
Web Site: ag.ca.gov/charities
Filing Fee: $0-$300 (depending on revenues)

Note: If gross receipts or total assets over $25,000, include IRS Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF.

Charitable corporations organized and operated primarily as hospitals, educational institutions, or religious organizations are exempt from filing.

Charities that file Form RRF-1 and that have gross revenues of $2M or more must prepare audited financial statements that are made available to the Attorney General and members of the general public upon demand. If these same charities are nonprofit corporations, they must also have an audit committee appointed by the board of directors.

b. Form: CT-694 (Annual Financial Solicitation Report)
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Registry of Charitable Trusts
PO Box 903447
Sacramento, CA 94203-4470

Information: (916) 445-2021
Web Site: ag.ca.gov/charities
Filing Fee: None

Note: This filing is required only if the organization (1) collects more than 50% of its annual income and more than $1 million in charitable contributions from donors in California during the previous calendar year, and (2) spent more than 25% of its annual income on non-program activities as defined in Business and Professions Code section 17510.9.

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. California Franchise Tax Board

Note: For a general discussion of the California Franchise Tax Board's requirements for exempt organizations, please refer to their Exempt Organizations publication.

a. Form: Form 199 or 199N (California e-Postcard)
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Exempt Organization Unit
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 942857
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-0501

Phone: (916) 845-4171
Web Site: www.ftb.ca.gov
Filing Fee: $0-25 (Form 199 Only, form 199N is free)

Notes: Some organizations may be exempt from this filing depending on the type of organization. Refer to the Franchise Tax Board's website for details.

b. Form: Form 109 (Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return)
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Exempt Organization Unit MS F120
Franchise Tax Board
PO Box 1286
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-1286

Phone: (916) 845-4171
Web Site: www.ftb.ca.gov
Filing Fee: $0

Note: This filing is required only if the organiztion derived more than $1,000 in gross unrelated business income.

4. California Secretary of State

Form: Form SI-100 (Statement of Information)
Due Date: Biennially before the end of the calendar month during which the original Articles of Incorporation were filed, but no sooner than the immediately preceding 5 calendar months.

Secretary of State
Statement of Information Unit
PO Box 944230
Sacramento, CA 94244-2300

Information: (916) 657-5448
Web Site: http://www.sos.ca.gov/
Filing Fee: $20*

Note: Failure to file by the due date may result in the assessment of a $50 penalty.


California Employment Filings

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

To Register with the California Employment Development Department

Complete the online registration for an Employer Payroll Tax Account Number at the following website: http://edd.ca.gov/Payroll_Taxes/e-Services_for_Business.htm

Employment Development Department
PO Box 826880
Sacramento, CA 94280-0001

Information: (888) 745-3886
Web Site: http://edd.ca.gov/

Note: For more information, refer to the FAQ's on the Employment Development Department's website.

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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