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Massachusetts

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

Massachusetts Registration and Compliance

Welcome to the registration and compliance page for Massachusetts nonprofit organizations. Below you will find information on initial filings required to form a new nonprofit organization in Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts. To navigate to one of these sections, click on the appropriate link on the left of this page.

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:

Starting a Nonprofit Organization in Massachusetts: Initial Filings

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.


Annual Filings for Massachusetts Nonprofit Organizations

1. 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.

2. Massachusetts Attorney General

Form: Attorney General form PC and copy of IRS Form 990 or 990EZ*
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Division of Public Charities
Office of the Attorney General
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Information: (617) 727-2200
Web Site: www.mass.gov/ago
Filing Fee: $35-2,000 (depending on revenues)

If funds raised from public: Attach Schedules A-1. A-2 to Form PC. If revenues over $200,000**: Provide review audit with Form PC. If revenues over $500,000: Provide complete audit with Form PC. Private foundations are exempt from audit requirements. Notes: *Effective for fiscal years ending on or after 12/31/2010, organizations with a gross support and revenue of $5,000 or less are no longer required to submit a Federal Form 990 or 990-EZ with the Form PC.

**Effective for fiscal years ending on or after 1/1/2008. For fiscal years ending on or before 12/31/07, a review audit must be submitted at the $100,000 threshold.

All charities, as defined by the Massachusetts Attorney General (read their definition of a charity), are required to file Form PC.

3. Massachusetts Secretary of State

Form: Annual Report for Nonprofit Corporations
Due Date: November 1

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: $15

Notes: Churches, religious organizations, nonprofit schools or colleges, charitable hospitals, library associations whose real or personal property is exempt from taxation, and some corporations formed before 1923 are exempt from this annual filing.

This form may be filed online through the Corporations Online Filing System. This requires a Customer ID and PIN.

4. Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Form: None
Due Date: Every 10 years, one month before the expiration date of Form ST-2, the Department of Revenue may issue a new exemption certificate.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue
Bureau of Desk Audit
Exempt Organization Unit
200 Arlington Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Information: (617) 887-6367
Forms: (617) 727-9440
Web Site: www.mass.gov/dor/forms/trustee/sales-and-use-tax/

Note: Organizations should contact the Department of Revenue prior to the expected renewal date to confirm they will receive a renewal certificate.


Massachusetts Employment Filings

If the organization will have employees, the following filings are 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) 887-6960
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, 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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