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District of Columbia

Legal Counsel for Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Sector

Information and resources on nonprofit law & regulation

District of Columbia Registration and Compliance

Welcome to the registration and compliance page for District of Columbia nonprofit organizations. Below you will find information on initial filings required to form a new nonprofit organization in the District of Columbia, 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 District of Columbia. 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 the District of Columbia: Initial Filings

1. To Incorporate in the District of Columbia

Complete Form DNP-1, Articles of Incorporation of Domestic Nonprofit Corporation, and mail to:

Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, D.C. 20090

Information: (202) 442-4432
Web Site: www.dcra.dc.gov
Filing Fee: $80

Notes: The Articles of Incorporation may also be filed online at the website above.

Certified copies are $45 per document.

For more information, please refer to the following web page: https://dcra.dc.gov/service/domestic-nonprofit-corporation

2. To Obtain District of Columbia Tax Exemptions

a. File form FR-500. This filing must be completed online. Contact the Office of Tax and Revenue below for questions.

Office of Tax and Revenue
1101 4th Street SW, Suite 270
Washington, D.C. 20024

Information: (202) 727-4829
Web Site: otr.cfo.dc.gov
Filing Fee: $0

Note: Nonprofit organizations subject to tax on unrelated business income are required to file a Form D-20, Corporation Franchise Tax return.

b. While filing for 501(c)(3) Federal tax-exempt status, submit Form 164 along with Articles of Incorporation and IRS determination letter (if available) to:

Office of Tax & Revenue
PO Box 556
Washington, D.C. 20044-0556

Information: (202) 442-6586
Fax: (202) 442-6883
Web Site: otr.cfo.dc.gov
Filing Fee: $0

3. To Register to Conduct Charitable Solicitations

Submit a Basic Business License Application to:

Wells Fargo Bank
Lockbox #91360
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

Information: (202) 442-4311
Web Site: Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Filing Fees: $412 (for Charitable Solicitation License)
$324.50 (for General Business License)

Notes: Nonprofit organizations that seek funds from their members only are required to obtain a General Business License and may apply online.

Nonprofit organizations that conduct fundraising campaigns outside of their membership or seek federal, local or private foundation grants must obtain a Charitable Solicitation License. Both the General Business License and the Charitable Solicitation License are valid for two years.

Private Foundations should obtain a General Business License.

Some organizations, such as churches, may be exempt from these registrations.

4. 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 (valid until April 30, 2020 after which all applications must be submitted online at Pay.gov):

Internal Revenue Service
Attention: EO Determination Letters
TE/GE Stop 31A Team 105
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: $600 ($275 for IRS Form 1023-EZ)
Form 1024 Filing Fee: $600

Notes: As of January 31, 2020, the IRS requires that Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, be completed and submitted online through Pay.gov. Applicants must have a Pay.gov account and payment of the user fee must be made electronically. There is a 90-day grace period during which the IRS will continue to accept paper versions of Form 1023. Learn more about IRS Form 1023.

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-A. For more information about this filing, refer to the IRS website.


Annual Filings for District of Columbia Nonprofit Organizations

1. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)

Form: Two Year Report
Due Date: April 1 (Due April 1 of the very next year after the date of incorporation and once every two years thereafter. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs will mail the report to the agent on record prior to the due date.)

Mailing Address:
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
Corporations Division
PO Box 92300
Washington, DC 20090

Information: (202) 442-4400
Web Site: https://dcra.dc.gov/
Filing Fee: $80

Notes: There is a $50 late fee for this form.

For more information, please refer to the following webpage: https://dcra.dc.gov/service/domestic-nonprofit-corporation

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.

Note: Effective for tax years that end July 31, 2020 and later, exempt organizations must now file their annual returns electronically, using an approved IRS 990 e-File provider. Note that some transitional relief is available to 990-EZ filers. In addition, some exceptions apply including when the organization is changing its name, filing a shortened period return due to a change in fiscal year, or has an exemption application pending. Refer to the Form 990 instructions for information on these and other exceptions. To learn more about this electronic filing requirement, read the IRS announcement. For a list of approved IRS 990 e-File providers, refer to the IRS' Modernized e-file Providers list.

3. District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)

Form: Charitable Solicitation Renewal
Due Date: Once every two years with a due date prescribed by the DCRA.

Wells Fargo Bank
DC Government Wholesale Lockbox 91360
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

Information: (202) 442-4400
Web Site: www.dcra.dc.gov
Filing Fee: $412.50

Notes: Online renewals are the preferred method. Renewals may be completed at https://dcra.dc.gov/node/1409221

Alternatively, a renewal form with instructions will be mailed to the organization by the DCRA.

Late fees: 1-30 days $250
30+ days $500

District of Columbia Employment Filings

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

To Register with the Office of Tax & Revenue and Department of Employment Services

Complete the Combined Registration Application (Form FR-500) online to obtain a withholding tax account and unemployment compensation tax account.

District of Columbia Office of Tax & Revenue
Customer Service Administration
1101 4th St., SW
Washington, DC 20024

Phone: 202-727-4829
Web Site: otr.cfo.dc.gov

District of Columbia Department of Employment Services
Office of Unemployment Compensation - Tax Division
4058 Minnesota Ave. NE, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20019

Phone: 202-698-7550
Web Site: does.dc.gov

Notes: If you have not already completed the initial registration as a part of the formation process, then you must file the Combined Registration Application (Form FR-500) online. The paper form is only used to make updates to a previously registered business.

The withholding tax portion of the application will be submitted to the Office of Tax & Revenue and the unemployment compensation tax portion of the application will be submitted separately to the Department of Employment Services

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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