In order to maintain your organization’s nonprofit status, you must comply with both state and federal mandates. In California, non-profits must file a Statement of Information and an RRF-1 form. Failure to do so can results in penalties in the form of fines, or, in a worst-case-scenario, loss of your nonprofit status. Let’s break down what this means, and whether or not you may need assistance from a qualified CPA in order to meet the state’s compliance filings.
What is a Statement of Information? Simply put, it’s a file that contains the most up-to-date information about your organization. The form (Form SI-100) can be downloaded online and mailed to the Secretary of State, though we strongly recommend taking advantage of the state’s online filing system in order to have your information processed faster (ensuring you avoid late fees.)
The form is due within 90 days after the filing of the initial Articles of Incorporation and biennially afterwards during the applicable filing period. Your organization’s applicable filing period is the calendar month which the INITIAL Articles of Incorporation were filed AND the five months before then. If you do choose to mail in your form, it is sent directly to the Secretary of State. We have provided you with the address at the bottom of this article.
All charitable nonprofit corporations, unincorporated associations, and trustee holding assets for charitable required to register with the Attorney General are also required to annually file an Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report (or RRF-1.) The following nonprofit organizations are exempt: religious institutions, educational institutions, government agencies, and other non-charitable organizations.)
The RRF-1 is another compliance document that must be filed once each calendar year. The RRF-1 Should be submitted no later than four months and fifteen days after the close of your organization’s accounting period. The renewal fee is based upon your organization’s total revenue (which you have reported on the applicable 990 Form) for the preceding fiscal year. Fees range from $25- $300.
The purpose of these two forms is to make sure your nonprofit is complying with the rules set forth by government agencies. While the forms are pretty straightforward, they require that all of the information about your nonprofit be current. Unfortunately, many nonprofits fail to realize these forms are necessary, or fail to get them in on time. The Registry of Charitable Trusts, which is a division of the California Attorney General, is the most commonly neglected agency in California, and nonprofits who do not follow through with filing their RRF-1s are not in compliance with the state of California. If you are unsure about whether or not you are in good standing with the Registry of Charitable Trusts, you can check your tax-exempt status here.
Hiring a CPA to help you maintain your tax-exempt status can actually help your organization save big by avoiding fees and by keeping you from losing your all-important nonprofit status, which is the lifeblood of charitable institutions. A CPA will not only make sure your financial records are up-to-date and accurate, but they will make sure the correct files get to the right places at the right time. One less thing you have to worry about. Professional accounting services will help stave off annoying audits and will keep the government on your side, which can make all the difference in the world.
If you are scrambling to do the math in your head to figure out whether or not you should have already sent out your compliance filings, you may need assistance. A qualified CPA can get your documents in order, and help you deal with a possible delinquency.
This isn’t something to ignore; make sure you’re in compliance, and hold on to your nonprofit status.
Secretary of State
Statement of Information Unit
P.O. Box 944230
Sacramento, CA 94244-2300
T: (916) 657-5448
California Attorney General
Registry of Charitable Trusts
P.O. Box 903447
Sacramento, CA 94203-4470
T: (916) 445-2021