The State and Your Nonprofit

The relationship between your nonprofit and the state starts as soon as you file your articles of incorporation with the secretary of state, and continues on throughout the duration of your nonprofit’s life. Here are the ways in which your nonprofit corporation will need to interact with the state throughout its life:

  • Incorporation and filing

    :This is the very beginning of a nonprofit’s relationship with the state. It begins when you file your nonprofit’s formation documents with the secretary of state, or similar business division. After submitting your formation documents, the state will file them and then, in most cases, alert you that your nonprofit is registered with the state. The amount of time that it takes to file and process your nonprofit’s formation documents will vary by state.

  • Initial reports

    : Some states require that an initial report be filed by your nonprofit when you first register with the state. There are continual report requirements in each state, but generally they are submitted on an annual, biannual, five-year, or even decennial basis. Initial reports are mandatory reports filed with the state when you first register your company, and not every state requires one of these. The following states all have initial reporting requirements for nonprofits: Alaska, California, Connecticut, DC, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina.

  • Annual reports

    :Annual reports are comprehensive reports of your nonprofit’s activities throughout the year. However, some states require these reports to be delivered every two, three, or even three years instead of annually. There are very specific dates for when these reports are due with the states, which are listed below. If your nonprofit does not file their report, it could fall out of good standing with the state.

  • Foreign qualification in other states

    : If you wish to operate your nonprofit in a state other than your home state, you will need to register with the state in which you wish to do business. You will be considered a foreign entity, and there are forms you will need to file in order to register with a different state before operating there.

  • Charitable registration

    : In most states, your nonprofit will need to register as a charity before soliciting donations from the public. This is usually done by filing a form with the attorney general or similar appropriate state office. In most states the charity registration will need to be renewed each year that your nonprofit is in operation. The following states do not require charity registration or renewal: Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Vermont, or Wyoming.

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  • Here is a state-by-state list of the time it takes to file your nonprofit’s formation documents, whether or not your nonprofit will need to file an initial report and when it is due, when other state reports are due, and whether or not charity registration is required, and when the renewal date will be:

    Alabama-
    Filing times: Regular processing takes up to 6 months, while expedited service will take only about a week.
    Initial report: Nonprofits do not have to file an initial report in Alabama.
    Annual report due: no annual report for Alabama charities.
    Charity renewal: File a Charitable Organization Renewal within 90 days of the close of your fiscal year.

     

     

    Alaska-
    Filing times:
    One week, unless you file online, in which case it is immediate.
    Initial report: must be filed within the first six months of formation.
    Biennial report due date: Due no later than July 2nd every other year.
    Charity renewal: You must renew your charity registration by September 1st annually.

    Arizona-
    Filing times: Six to eight weeks, with three to seven business days for expedite.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements for Arizona nonprofits.
    Annual report due date: it is due by the anniversary date of the nonprofit’s formation.
    Charity renewal: On or before September 30th annually.

    Arkansas-
    Filing times: Online filing will take one to three days. Paper filing will take about four days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by August 1st.
    Charity renewal: Due on or before May 15th annually.

    California-
    Filing times: Five weeks if documents are walked in, Two to three days if you pay the 24-hour fee. It will take eight to twelve weeks if mailed in.
    Initial report: File a Statement of Information within 90 days of registration.
    Biennial report due date: The Statement of Information is due annually by the last day of the anniversary month biennially.
    Charity renewal: Renew within four months and fifteen days after the end of your fiscal year.

    Colorado-
    Filing times: Filing is done online and processing is immediate.
    Initial report: No initial filing requirements.
    Periodic report due date: You have from the first day of your nonprofit’s anniversary month until the last day of the month, three months later.
    Charity renewal: Due by the fifteenth day of the fifth month after your nonprofit’s fiscal year end.

    Connecticut-
    Filing times: Three to five days.
    Initial report: File the Organization and First reports within thirty days after your first organizational meeting. 
    Annual report due date: Thirty days after the date of your nonprofit’s registration.
    Charity renewal: You will need to renew your charitable registration annually five months after the end of your fiscal year.

    Delaware-
    Filing times: 10-25 days. Three to five days with the expedite option.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements for nonprofits.
    Annual report due date: Due by March 31st.
    Charity renewal: There are no charity registration requirements in Delaware.

    DC-
    Filing times: Three weeks if filed by mail, ten days when filed online.
    Initial report: You must file an initial report no later than April 1st the year after you have been registered, no matter how late in the year you’re nonprofit was registered.
    Biennial report due date: Due April 1st every other year after you have filed the initial report.
    Charity renewal: Your charitable solicitation license is good for two years.

    Florida-
    Filing times: Five to seven days.
    Initial report: No initial report due, but no matter how late in the year your nonprofit is registered, a report will be due by May 1st.
    Annual report due date: May 1st every year.
    Charity renewal: You will renew your charity license every year by the date of your nonprofit’s registration.

    Georgia-
    Filing times: Five to twelve business days.
    Initial report: Within 90 days of incorporation.
    Annual report due date: between January 1st and April 1st.
    Charity renewal: Renew every two years. You will receive a renewal notice in the mail.

    Hawaii-
    Filing times: one to two weeks if mailed in. One to two days for expedited online or fax filings. It is two to five days for regular online or fax filings.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: At the end of the quarter in which your nonprofit was filed.
    Charity renewal: An annual financial report is due to the attorney general by the fifteenth day of the fifth month after the nonprofit’s fiscal year end.

    Idaho-
    Filing times:
    Three to five days. One day for the expedite option.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: by the end of your nonprofit’s anniversary month.
    Charity renewal: No renewal requirements.

    Illinois-
    Filing times:
    Two to three weeks for regular processing, and one to five days if filed online.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by the day before the first day of the anniversary month of the nonprofit’s registration.
    Charity renewal: Due six months after the end of the fiscal year end.

    Indiana-
    Filing times: Five to seven days if done on paper, and immediate filing if done online.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due the last day of the nonprofit’s anniversary month.
    Charity renewal: No renewal requirements.

    Iowa-
    Filing times: About a week.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Biennial report due date: 135 days after the fiscal year end.
    Charity renewal: No charity registration or renewal in Iowa.

    Kansas-
    Filing times: About five days for regular processing, and two days for expedite filing. Filing online is immediate.
    Initial report: no initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by the fifteenth day of the sixth month after your fiscal year end.
    Charity renewal: Renew by the last day of the sixth month following the end of the fiscal year.

    Kentucky-
    Filing times: Three to five days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: By June 30th.
    Charity renewal: Your nonprofit must send a copy of IRS form 990 to the attorney general by the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of the fiscal year.

    Louisiana-
    Filing times: One week.
    Initial report: You will attach an initial report to your formation documents when you initially file them.
    Annual report due date: This will be due on your nonprofit’s exact anniversary date.
    Charity renewal: Renew annually by October 1st.

    Maine-
    Filing times: Two weeks.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: June 1st every year.
    Charity renewal: By November 30th annually.

    Maryland-
    Filing times: Eight weeks. It will take one week if documents are fax-filed with an expedite fee.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: A Personal Property Return is due by April 15th every year.
    Charity renewal: Six months after the fiscal year end.

    Massachusetts-
    Filing times: If faxed, processing will take one to three days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: No later than November 1st.
    Charity renewal: Due four and a half months after the end of the fiscal year.

    Michigan-
    Filing times:
    Five to seven days via paper, One to two days if fax-filed, and same-day if expedited.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: October 1st starting the year after incorporation.
    Charity renewal: Seven months after the end of the fiscal year.

    Minnesota-
    Filing times:
    One to two weeks by mail and one day if done online.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by December 31st.
    Charity renewal: Renew with the attorney general by the fifteenth day of the seventh month after the end of the fiscal year.

    Mississippi-
    Filing times:
    About one week.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Five-year status report due date: Due within 90 days after you have received a request for the status report from the secretary of state.
    Charity renewal: Renew annually by the date that the nonprofit’s certificate of registration was issued.

    Missouri-
    Filing times: About one week if done by mail. Faxed and online filings usually take one to three days.
    Initial report: File within 30 days of incorporating the nonprofit.
    Annual report due date: Due the last day of the month three months after the anniversary month for your nonprofit.
    Charity renewal: Due 75 days after the fiscal year end.

    Montana-
    Filing times: One week for regular processing, and one to three business days if expedited.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: April 15th each year.
    Charity renewal: No charity requirements.

    Nebraska-
    Filing times: One to two weeks, or one to two days if done online.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Due between January 1st and April 1st in odd-numbered years.
    Charity renewal: No charity registration or renewal in Nebraska.

    Nevada-
    Filing times: Online processing is immediate and regular processing takes between one and two weeks.
    Initial report: File an initial list of officers and a business license application by the end of the month after you file with the secretary of state.
    Report due date: An annual list is due along with a business application by the end of your nonprofit’s anniversary month annually.
    Charity renewal: No charity requirements or registration in Nevada.
    New Hampshire-
    Filing times: Seven to fourteen days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Five-year report due date: Every five years on December 31st.
    Charity registration: Four months and fifteen days after the end of the fiscal year.

    New Jersey-
    Filing times:
    Four weeks.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Due by the last day of the nonprofit’s anniversary month.
    Charity renewal: Renew on or before six months after the end of the fiscal year.

    New Mexico-
    Filing times: Four to eight weeks for regular processing, and one to three days for expedited processing.
    Initial report: Due within 30 days of the issuing of the certificate of incorporation.
    Annual report due date: Due by the fifteenth day of the fifth month after the end of the fiscal year.
    Charity registration: Renew six months after the end of the fiscal year.

    New York-
    Filing times: Two to four weeks.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Biennial report due date: Nonprofits are not required to file this.
    Charity renewal: Renew annually by May 15th.

    North Carolina-
    Filing times: Five to seven days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: No annual report for nonprofits.
    Charity registration: Renew annually by the anniversary date of the nonprofit’s charity license. You will be mailed a renewal package 65 days before your anniversary.

    North Dakota-
    Filing times: Seven to ten days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by February 1st.
    Charity renewal: Renew by September 1st.

    Ohio-
    Filing times:
     About one week, or one to two days if expedited.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Due every five years during the nonprofit
    Charity renewal: Due by the fifteenth day of the fifth month after the end of the fiscal year.

    Oklahoma-
    Filing times:
    If walked in or done online your documents will be processed within one to two business days. If mailed in it will take seven to ten days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Oklahoma nonprofits have no filing requirements.
    Charity renewal: Due by the anniversary of charity’s registration.

    Oregon-
    Filing times: One day if faxed or done online. Seven to ten days if mailed in.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Due by the nonprofit’s filing anniversary date.
    Charity renewal: You will also need to renew your charitable registration annually with the Department of Justice.

    Pennsylvania-
    Filing times: Eight days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Decennial report due date: Nonprofits must only file a decennial report when there has been a change in officers. It will be due by April 30th.
    Charity renewal: Due within 315 days after the end of the fiscal year.

    Rhode Island-
    Filing time: Seven to ten days if done by paper.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due between June 1st and June 30th.
    Charity renewal: Due thirty days before the registration anniversary date.

    South Carolina-
    Filing times: Seven to ten days if filed regularly, and only two days if filed online.
    Initial report: The Initial Annual Report of CorporationsCL-1 is due at the same time as the initial formation/registration with the secretary of state.
    Report due date: The annual tax return is due by the fifteenth day of the fifth month following the close of the tax year. File form SC 990-T with a copy of Federal return attached to the department of revenue.
    Charity renewal: Due four and a half months after the end of the fiscal year.

    South Dakota-
    Filing times: About one week.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due during the nonprofit’s filing anniversary month.
    Charity renewal: No registration requirements.

    Tennessee-
    Filing times:
    Four days if done by paper, and two to four days if filed online.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by the first day of the fourth month after the end of the fiscal year.
    Charity renewal: Renew your charity license by the end of the sixth month after the end of the fiscal year.

    Texas-
    Filing times: One week fi done by paper, one day if faxed in.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: There is a periodic report due once every four years. The due date for this is printed on the request sent to the nonprofit.
    Charity renewal: No charity renewal requirements unless the nonprofit benefits law enforcement or the military.

    Utah-
    Filing times: One to two weeks, and one to two days if expedited.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Due by the nonprofit’s anniversary date.
    Charity renewal: Renew by the end of the registration anniversary month.

    Vermont-
    Filing times: About one week.
    Initial report: The initial biennial report is due by the second April 1st after the nonprofit has filed.
    Biennial report due date: Due by April 1st every other year.
    Charity renewal: no charity registration or renewal.

    Virginia-
    Filing times: About one week if done by mail, or instantly if done online.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by the last day of the anniversary month.
    Charity renewal: Renew by the anniversary of the nonprofit’s registration.

    Washington-
    Filing times: One to two months, or two to five days if done online or expedited.
    Initial report: No nonprofit initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by the last day of the filing anniversary month. You can file up to forty-five days prior to this date.
    Charity renewal: File eleven months after the close of your fiscal year.

    West Virginia-
    Filing times: One day.
    Initial report: No requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by June 30th.
    Charity renewal: Renew by the nonprofit’s anniversary date.

    Wisconsin-
    Filing times: About one week.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Annual report due date: Due by the end of the filing anniversary quarter.
    Charity renewal: Renew by July 31st annually.

    Wyoming-
    Filing times: Three to six business days.
    Initial report: No initial report requirements.
    Report due date: Due by the first day of the nonprofit’s anniversary month.
    Charity renewal: No charity renewal requirement. 

About the Author

Drake Forester, Chief Legal Strategiest - Northwest Registered AgentDrake Forester is the chief legal strategist at Northwest Registered Agent, LLC. Throughout his career, Drake has researched many complicated nonprofit compliance issues and provided whitepaper and publications for many leading nonprofit organizations in the United States.