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North Carolina

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

North Carolina Registration and Compliance

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

1. To Incorporate in North Carolina

Submit Articles of Incorporation to:

Department of the Secretary of State
Corporations Division
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622

Information: (919) 807-2225
Web Site: www.sosnc.gov/
Filing Fee: $60

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 North Carolina Income Tax Exemption

Once a nonprofit incorporates with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State will notify the Department of Revenue of this fact. Subsequently, the Department of Revenue will mail a questionnaire to the nonprofit organization which should be completed and returned to the Department of Revenue along with a copy of the organization's Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. For more information refer to the North Carolina Department of Revenue's publication, State Taxation and Nonprofit Organizations or contact the Department of Revenue at:

Department of Revenue
PO Box 25000
Raleigh, NC 27640

Information: (877) 252-3052
Web Site: www.dornc.com

4. To Obtain North Carolina Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Nonprofit organizations must pay sales and use taxes in North Carolina, and then apply for a refund once every six months (June 30 th and December 31 st ). To apply for a refund, submit a letter requesting nonprofit status that includes the organization's name, EIN, and a description of activities along with Form E-585 to the address below. For more information refer to the North Carolina Department of Revenue's publication, State Taxation and Nonprofit Organizations or contact the Department of Revenue at:

Department of Revenue
PO Box 25000
Raleigh, NC 27640-0640

Information: (877) 252-3052
Web Site: www.dornc.com
Filing Fee: $0

5. To Register with the North Carolina Secretary of State

If planning to solicit funds in North Carolina, submit the application to register as a charitable organization along with Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, list of officers and directors, IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter, most recent IRS Form 990, copies of all contracts with professional fund raisers, and a narrative describing the organization's fund-raising plan to:

Department of the Secretary of State
Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622

Information: (919) 807-2214
Web Site: www.sosnc.gov/
Filing Fee: $0-$200 (depending on revenues)

Notes: Exemptions from this filing are granted to certain educational institutions and hospitals. Refer to the Secretary of State's frequently asked questions for details.

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


Annual Filings for North Carolina 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. North Carolina Secretary of State

Form: Annual Solicitation Renewal
Due Date: 4 ½ months after end of fiscal year

Department of the Secretary of State
Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section
PO Box 29622
Raleigh, NC 27626-0622

Information: (919) 807-2214
Web Site: www.sosnc.gov/
Filing Fee: $0-200 (depending on revenues)

Note: Exemptions from this filing are granted to certain educational institutions and hospitals. Refer to the Secretary of State's frequently asked questions for details.

3. North Carolina Department of Revenue

Form: E-585 (Sales Tax Refund)
Due Date: April 15 and October 15

Department of Revenue
PO Box 25000
Raleigh, NC 27640-0640

Information: (919) 733-7983
Web Site: www.dor.state.nc.us
Filing Fee: $0


North Carolina Employment Filings

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

1. To Register with the North Carolina Department of Revenue

Complete the Business Registration Application (Form NC-BR) online.

North Carolina Department of Revenue
Post Office Box 25000
Raleigh, NC 27640-0640

Information: (877) 252-3052
Web Site: www.dornc.com/taxes/wh_tax/index.html

Note: Refer to the withholding tax Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

2. To Register with the North Carolina Division of Employment Security

To “Apply for a North Carolina Employer Tax Account Number online.

North Carolina Division of Employment Security
P.O. Box 25903
Raleigh, NC 27611-5903

Information: (919) 707-1150
Web Site: https://des.nc.gov/DES

Note: For information regarding unemployment insurance tax refer to the Division of Employment Security's Employer FAQs.

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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