Washington D.C. Fundraising Registration Requirements
Washington D.C. Charitable Solicitation Registration
D.C. Corporate Authority – Foreign Registration
Organizations that are incorporated in another state typically need to apply for a D.C. Certificate of Authority. The D.C. Certificate of Authority registers your organization as a foreign entity.
Obtain a Certificate of Authority in D.C.
To obtain a Certificate of Authority in D.C., foreign nonprofit corporations are required to file a Foreign Registration Statement FN-1 with the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs – Corporations Division. As part of the application corporations must:
- Upload a Certificate of Good Standing from its state of incorporation, dated within 90 days.
- Complete Washington D.C. Certificate of Authority Application. Note that this application is incomplete without appointing a service of process agent or registered agent in D.C. Contact us to find out about our reliable registered agent service. Note that the D.C. registered agent address cannot be a P.O. Box.
- Upload Certificate of Existence dated within 90 days.
- Pay the $80 application fee.
Failure to apply and obtain a Certificate of Authority prior to conducting business in D.C. will result in penalties of $130 for each biennial period prior to foreign qualification.
Complete the Combined Business Tax Registration Application – Form FR-500
After obtaining your Certificate of Authority, your next step will be to register your nonprofit with the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue by filing the Combined Business Tax Registration Application or Form FR-500 .
Apply for the D.C. Tax-Exempt Status
Charitable organizations are generally exempt from paying local business taxes, however, in D.C., a 501(c)(3) status does not automatically grant your organization exemption from paying local income, franchise, sales, use, or personal property taxes. To obtain D.C. tax exemptions, your organization must file Form FR-164 after you have successfully filed Form FR-500 and a completed registration with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue.
In order for an organization to be eligible for the sales and use tax exemption in D.C., the organization must have a location within D.C. Even though the D.C. sales tax exemption allows your organization to avoid paying sales taxes on purchases in D.C., you are still responsible for collecting sales taxes if your organization sells personal property or services in D.C., unless this selling activity is a one-time isolated sales drive.
D.C. Basic Business Licensing – Nonprofit Organizations
Lastly, charitable organizations must apply with the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs for a Basic Business License and pay the $412.50 fee before they can legally solicit contributions in D.C.
As part of the application, organizations must:
- Upload their IRS Letter of Determination.
- Upload proof of completed registration with the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue.
- Upload the Certificate of Occupancy (if the organization has a physical location in D.C.). Note that an organization leasing space must obtain a copy of the certificate from the building manager.
- Obtain a Certificate of Clean Hands.
- Upload a signed and notarized Certified Resolution.
D.C. Basic Business Licensing (BBL) Exemption – Nonprofit Organizations
The following criteria could exempt your nonprofit from needing a BBL before soliciting:
- Organizations that raised less than $25,000 in gross contributions in a calendar year, and did not hire professional fundraising services.
- Organizations that solicit solely from their members or member’s families.
- Organizations that engage in workplace giving campaigns
- Religious organizations soliciting solely for educational and/or religious purposes
Required D.C. Attachments For Nonprofit Organizations
- IRS determination letter
- Professional fundraising contracts
- Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit
- D.C. tax number or certificate
- Certified Resolution
Washington D.C. Charitable Solicitation Registration Renewal
Renewals are due biennially by the end of the month prior to your initial registration month. Renewal of both the Basic Business License and the Corporate Registration (annual report or in this case biennial report) is required every two years.
The first Corporate Authority renewal application is due by April 1st of the following year, while all subsequent renewals are due biennially. Nonprofits are also required to file the biennial reports in D.C. BRA-25 and pay the renewal fee of $80. The Basic Business License renewal is due biennially and the renewal fee is $412.50.
Note that D.C. does not grant extensions.
D.C. Late Fees & Penalties
It is of the utmost importance that organizations register and renew their registrations in a timely manner or risk incurring high fees. D.C. imposes the highest fees of any state for non-compliance. Fees range from $50 to $500 and could increase to thousands of dollars. For example, if your organization fails to pay the Basic Business License renewal fee of $412.50 on/before say 1/31/2021, a late fee of $250.00 is automatically added to the $412.50 for a total of $662.50 that must be paid on 2/1/2021. If your organization fails to pay that late fee on time, another $250 is added for a total of $500 in late fees for a grand total of $912.50, and so on.
Avoid paying unnecessary fees by having the compliance experts at Labyrinth, Inc. manage your D.C. Charitable Registration and renewals for you.