California Fundraising Registration Requirements

California State Fundraising Registration

Resources for charities, businesses, professional fundraisers, and individuals conducting fundraising activities

 

California Nonprofit & Fundraising Company Licenses

Labyrinth provides the state fundraising regulations below as a guide to help you apply for and maintain your ability to fundraise. Need help? We can manage your state registrations for you. Contact us today to learn more.


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California Fundraising Registration Requirements

The State of California has three departments regulating charitable solicitation registration, compliance, and reporting. Every charitable corporation, domestic unincorporated association, and charitable trustee that hold property for charitable purposes and foreign entities that conduct business activities in California must comply with California charitable solicitation registration requirements. The departments that regulate nonprofit organizations in California are as follows:
  • California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) - The FTB determines whether an organization qualifies for state tax exemption and whether donations may be tax-deductible.

    Nonprofits must apply for tax-exempt status with the California Franchise Tax Board by submitting a California Submission of Exemption Request Form (FTB 3500A) along with a copy of your nonprofit’s IRS Determination Letter.

    Thereafter, nonprofit organizations are required to file the California Exempt Organization Annual Information Return or Form 199 or for organizations with $50,000 or less in gross receipts, the California e-Postcard or FTB 199N with the Franchise Tax Board.

    Generally, to keep your tax-exempt status in the State of California, nonprofit organizations are also required to maintain records with the California Attorney General’s Office, the Secretary of State, and the Internal Revenue Service.

  • California Secretary of State (SOS) -The SOS oversees nonprofit organizations' requirement for transacting business in California.

    Foreign entities are required to register to do business in California by obtaining a California Certificate of Qualification and appoint a registered agent or agent for service of process in California when qualifying to do business.

    Domestic as well as foreign nonprofit organizations that register to do business in California are required to file a Statement of Information (SOI), also referred to as an annual report, with the SOS. The SOI contains information regarding your service of process agent, principal officers, and other information about your nonprofit organization. Note that there is a separate process to change the name or other details of your organization. The SOI must be filed within 90 days of filing Articles of Incorporation, and thereafter renewed biennially. Failure to file the California Statement of Information could result in penalties being assessed by the California Franchise Tax Board and suspension or forfeiture.

  • The Office of the Attorney General (AG) - regulates the registration and reporting requirements for charities and fundraisers operating in California through its Registry of Charitable Trusts. The following is a summary of nonprofit registration requirements in California:

Initial California Charitable Solicitation Registration

Unless exempt, the State of California requires charitable corporations, fundraisers who solicit on behalf of charities, unincorporated associations, charitable trustees, and other legal entities holding property for charitable purposes to file an initial registration form (CA Form CT-1) with the Office Attorney General within 30 days after receiving charitable donations from California.

Failure to register within the designated 30 days will result in fees. Failure to register at all may lead to penalties, administrative or legal action, and the loss of your organization’s tax exemption status with the California Franchise Tax Board.

Note that it takes approximately 90 days from the date of receipt, provided that your submitted Form CT-1 is complete and accurate to process. You can review your registration status by using the California Registration Status Verification Search Tool.

California Exemption From Charity Registration

California automatically exempts the following types of organizations:
  • Religious organizations
  • Religious corporations holding property for religious purposes
  • Organizations formed to carry out a function of a state, or public body that is carrying out that function and is controlled by the state or public body
  • Hospitals
  • Political organizations
  • Pension trusts
  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, formerly called education IRAs
  • Qualified state tuition programs
  • Subordinate organization included in the parent's group return

How to Register to Fundraise in California

Nonprofit organizations that are required to register in California must file the California Initial Registration Form (Form CT-1)together with the following supporting documents?
  • Articles of incorporation or formation document
  • Bylaws
  • IRS determination letter
  • IRS Form 1023
  • List of officers and directors
The California charitable registration fee is $25.
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California Fundraising Registration Renewal

Charitable organizations, fundraisers soliciting on behalf of charities, unincorporated associations, and trustees doing business or holding property in California are required to renew their California charitable registration with the California Attorney General by filing the California Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report (Form RRF-1) along with their equivalent IRS Form 990 or new (Form CT-TR-1).

Failure to complete your annual filings and pay the renewal fees in a timely manner could result in your organization's status being changed from 'Current' to 'Reporting Incomplete'. Failure to renew will lead to your organization being listed as delinquent, which could result in loss of tax-exempt status.

Unless the IRS grants your organization an extension, California annual registration renewals are due 4 months and 15 days after the end of your organization’s fiscal year. So if your final year ends on December 31, the due date for your renewal is May 15, or November 15 if the IRS grants an extension. If your nonprofit files and is granted an extension to file its IRS Form 990, the extension will automatically be honored by the Registry of Charitable Trust.

Nonprofits with gross annual revenues of $2 million or more are required to submit financial statements audited by an independent Certified Public Accountant.

The following is a summary of California fundraising registration renewal requirements:
California Charitable Registration Renewal Agency:California Attorney General – Registry of Charitable Trusts
California Charitable Registration Renewal Due Date:4½ months after fiscal year end
California Charitable Registration Renewal Forms:California Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report Form (RRF-1), and
California Annual Financial Solicitation Report Form (CT-694), if more than 50% of annual income and more than $1 million in charitable contributions is from donors in California during the previous year and more than 25% of annual income was spent on non-program activities
California Requires the Following Supporting Documents for Charitable Solicitation Registration Renewal:

  • IRS Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990-PF

  • Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors, from IRS Form 990 or IRS Form 990-EZ, which should be sent separately and marked “confidential.”

  • Audited financial statements by an independent CPA if revenue exceeds $2 million.

  • IRS Form 8868, if filed.

  • List of professional fundraisers, fundraising counsel, and commercial coventurers (names, addresses, and phone numbers).

California Charitable Registration Renewal Filing Fee:Renewal fees are assessed based on a nonprofit's gross receipts as follows:

Less than $25,000 >> $0
Between $25,000 and $100,000 >> $25
Between $100,001 and $250,000 >> $50
Between $250,001 and $1 million >> $75
Between $1,000,001 and $10 million >> $150
Between $10,000,001 and $50 million >> $225
Greater than $50 million >> $300
California Charitable Registration Renewal Filing Method:Online

or

Renewal of California Charitable Registration is submitted by mail:
Office of Attorney General
Registry of Charitable Trusts
P.O. Box 903447
By express delivery:
1300 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814


California Individual Nonprofit & Fundraising Licenses



California Individual Professional Fundraiser Registration

NOT REQUIRED

Professional Solicitor licensure is not required on the state level in California.
Solicitors who are not employed by a professional fundraising firm but operate independently may be required to register. Employees of professional fundraising firms are generally not required to register as an individual solicitor in Texas.