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Massachusetts Charity Registration


Do I have to register my non-profit corporation as a charity in Massachusetts?

Yes, you will have to apply to register your nonprofit corporation as a charity, as Massachusetts law requires that if you’ve legally formed a Massachusetts-based nonprofit entity, you must attempt to register as a charity to a) let the Attorney General’s Office decide if you organization is a charity subject to registration and b) register your organization to legally conduct its business. This is interesting in that the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) actually makes the determination whether your nonprofit corporation is a charity.

How do I register as a charity in Massachusetts?

To register as a charity in Massachusetts, you must submit the following to the Massachusetts’ Office of the Attorney General:

  • A copy of the organization’s articles of organization
  • A list of the current officers/directors and their addresses
  • A copy of the organization’s by-laws
  • A copy of the IRS letter designating the organization’s 501c3 status, if the organization has received one.
  • Initial registration fee of $100, payable to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts”
  • If your organization has not completed its first fiscal year, you need to send a completed Short Form PC (this form will gives the AGO an idea of what types of fundraising activities your nonprofit corporation will be conducted), and if your nonprofit has completed its first year, you will need to include a Long Form PC (this form will show the AGO your nonprofit’s financial year in review).
  • If you file the Long Form PC, you will also need to pay a fee based upon your organization’s gross revenue. The fees will be anywhere from $35 to $250.

If your Massachusetts  nonprofit organization has not completed its first fiscal year, but want to collect or solicit donations before filing its first Long Form PC, you will need to include an additional $50 for a “Certificate of Solicitation.” Organizations that have not obtained one of these certificates are not legally eligible to collect or solicit donations.

What kind of annual requirements do charities in Massachusetts need to meet?

If you log onto the Massachusetts Attorney General’s website and ask this question, the answer will sound ridiculous because it’s poorly explained, but in short, each charity needs to file a Form PC each year. (The due date is four and a half months after the end of the charity’s fiscal year, which is typically May 15.) The nonprofit corporation or organization will have to pay an annual fee based on a sliding scale. The fee will be anywhere from $35 to $250. When this form is completed and submitted with the filing fee, the nonprofit organization’s Certificate of Solicitation will be renewed for another year.

What type of information is required on the Massachusetts Form PC?

Much like annual charity reports from other states, the Form PC requires all of the charity’s financial information from the previous year, including any and all forms filed with the IRS.

You can also read: Massachusetts Nonprofit Tax Exemptions.

Are there any exemptions or entities that don’t have to register as a charity with Massachusetts?

In short, no. Every legally formed, nonprofit organization must initially attempt to register as a charity with the Massachusetts AGO. However, religious organizations and the Red Cross, as well as certain veterans organizations, do not have to file or obtain Certificates of Solicitation.

How long will it take the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General to process my charity registration?

Nothing is easy when it comes to charities in Massachusetts. The AGO processes charity registrations in the order they are received, and on average, it takes six to eight weeks for verification from the department.

File Massachusetts Charitable Organizations at:

Office of Attorney General
Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 727-8400
Website: Massachusetts Attorney General’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division

Additional Resources:

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