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Nonprofit Education

Nonprofit Start-Up Series Step 3: File State Documents

After creating the initial documents and filing for federal tax-exempt status, it can often feel like the startup work is complete. However, there are still several steps to go.

In most states, applying for federal tax-exempt status alone is not enough to start asking for donations. Nonprofit organizations must file additional state documents with various agencies to complete their registration.

Unlike the initial documents, which, despite naming, differences are uniformly required across the country, state document requirements vary wildly. Knowing which documents your state requires is the difference between smooth operation and hefty penalties and late fees.

While the process varies by state, the most common state documents are:

  • Charity Registration: Required to legally ask the public for donations.
  • State Tax Exemption: Required for exemption from corporate income taxes.
  • State Sales Tax Exemption: Required for exemption from paying sales tax on purchases.

When and if an organization is required to file these documents depends on the state of operation. Some states allow filing on the same day as applying for IRS tax-exempt status. In contrast, others require receiving tax-exempt determination before filing. Since asking for donations often requires filing a charity registration, understanding your state’s document and filing requirements is necessary for the startup journey.

BryteBridge’s Complete packages include all required state documents, and QuickStart packages include detailed compliance instructions for the Board of Directors to follow.

Organizations may also need to register with their local county or municipal government. This registration, sometimes called a Business Permit or Occupation License, pays any necessary local taxes and grants the organization permission to legally operate in its place of business. BryteBridge specialists can assist clients to ensure their organization is operating legally.

State Documentation Checklist

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