FAQ Sheet for Delinquencies
A charity/nonprofit/trust may be delinquent because it has not filed one or more of the required annual reports with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts (“Registry”). Charitable organizations and trusts are required to be registered and to file the Registration Renewal Fee Report (“Form RRF-1”) annually with the Registry. Required annual reports include Form RRF-1, IRS Form 990, 990-PF, or 990 EZ if the organization files a Form 990 with the IRS, as well as all applicable schedules filed with the Internal Revenue Service (collectively referred to as “reports”). The failure to submit the appropriate registration fees may also result in delinquency.
Unless specifically exempted under the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act (Government Code sections 12580-12599.8), registration and annual reporting are required by all charitable nonprofit corporations, unincorporated associations, trustees, and other legal entities holding assets for charitable purposes. Any charitable organization established outside of California that is doing business or holding property in this state for charitable purposes must also register with the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts.
The Registry of Charitable Trusts administers the statutory registration and reporting program for all organizations and individuals that control and/or solicit charitable funds or assets in California. The Attorney General regulates charities and the professional fundraisers who solicit on their behalf. The Attorney General has the duty to protect donors, charities themselves, and the beneficiaries of charities.
Please visit our website at www.oag.ca.gov/charities and click on the link “Registry Search” to view the year-end reports that are on file with the Registry. At the “Registry Search” page, enter only one of the organization’s identifying numbers – State Charity Registration Number (“CT” number), Corporate, or FEIN. The year-end reports that are on file with the Registry will appear under the heading “Annual Renewal Information.” The charity/nonprofit/trust is required to file complete reports every year with the applicable renewal fee. If the Status field is blank or shows a status of “Incomplete” or “Rejected,” complete reports were not filed for the year indicated and those reports are now delinquent. If the Status field shows “Accepted” but the 990 Attached field shows a “N”, it indicates no IRS Form 990 has been filed and the organization’s filing for that year is considered incomplete if the revenue amount for the fiscal year is over the IRS threshold for filing a return.
A screenshot of the Registry Search page is shown below for reference.
The State Charity Registration Number is the Charitable Trust (“CT”) number assigned to an organization by the Registry of Charitable Trusts at the time of registration.
The IRS is a separate Federal entity. The IRS does not forward the Form 990 to the Registry. The role of the Attorney General in overseeing California charities is different from the IRS. The Attorney General has primary supervisory jurisdiction over California charitable corporations, unincorporated associations, trustees, and other legal entities holding assets for charitable purposes to assure that their assets are used for charitable purposes. Form 990 is one of the public filings that allow donors to become informed about a charity before making a decision to give.
For forms and instructions, please visit our website at www.oag.ca.gov/charities and click on the link “Forms.”
Please refer to Form RRF-1 and the RRF-1 instruction sheet to determine the renewal fee amount required for your charity/nonprofit/trust. The renewal fee amount is based on the organization’s gross annual revenue for the fiscal year listed in Part A of the RRF-1 Form. The appropriate renewal fee must be submitted with the organization’s Form RRF-1.
My charity’s Form 990 can be downloaded through the “searchable database” link on the Registry website. Why do I need to file our Form 990 if the Registry already has it?
The “searchable database” link on the Registry website (www.oag.ca.gov/charities) is a third-party website that scans informational returns (IRS Form 990) filed directly with the IRS. The searchable database is not the Registry’s database; it does not contain any state-specific registration information. The Registry website includes a link to the third-party searchable database as a courtesy to assist the public in locating informational returns. Because the Registry is not affiliated with the third-party searchable database, the fact that a charity’s informational returns may be located in the searchable database does not fulfill the charity’s independent obligation to file its informational returns directly with the Registry. Registry personnel cannot utilize the information in the searchable database to fulfill your organization’s independent filing requirements.
The “Registry Search” link on the Registry website allows a charity’s public filings to be viewed and downloaded directly from the Registry database. The documents filed with the Registry that are public filings include IRS Form 990, registration forms, founding documents (e.g., articles of incorporation) and the annual renewal Form RRF-1.
Please also note, the Registry does not make available for public viewing certain records and information submitted with the Form 990 and 990-EZ, such as the Schedule B, that are considered confidential documents.
I cannot locate the organization’s historical file or banking documents. How can I complete the RRF-1?
Contact your organization’s tax preparer and/or attorney. Tax and legal professionals will often retain copies of prior filings and/or historical documents prepared on behalf of an organization. You may also refer to the “searchable database” described above in FAQ #8 to locate and download Form 990’s that were previously filed by your organization with the IRS.
The Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act (Government Code sections 12580-12599.8) requires registration and annual reporting by all charitable nonprofit corporations, unincorporated associations, trustees, and other legal entities holding assets for charitable purposes. The law’s application is not limited to entities that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. With very limited exception, the Supervision of Trustees and Fundraisers for Charitable Purposes Act applies to any person/entity holding money or property for charitable purposes, including entities that are tax exempt under other subsections of 501(c), entities that are not tax exempt, and for-profit entities that hold assets for charitable purposes.
We lost our tax exempt status after failing to file tax returns for three consecutive years. How do we reinstate our tax exempt status?
Regardless of an organization’s exempt status, all charities are required to file Form RRF-1 every year.
Please contact the IRS (http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Reinstatement-of-Tax-Exempt-Status-after-Automatic-Revocation) and/or Franchise Tax Board for instructions on how to reinstate and/or revive your tax exempt status. The IRS and Franchise Tax Board are separate entities from the Registry.
Additional information may be found at:
Our organization has not conducted business for a number of years. How do I reflect that inactivity on our RRF-1 form?
Regardless of an organization’s activity level, all charities/nonprofits/trusts are required to file Form RRF-1 every year. If the organization has been dormant and has not received charitable donations or assets of any kind during a specific year, that information can be reflected on the RRF-1 by indicating zero ($0) revenue for that year. If your organization no longer intends to operate, you may wish to dissolve the organization. For information on dissolution see FAQ #14 below.
Please refer to our website at www.oag.ca.gov/charities and click on the link “Forms,” which includes the PDF instruction sheet entitled “Dissolving a Nonprofit Corporation.” For additional information, please contact the Dissolution program at 916-445-2021, option 8, or by email at email@example.com for assistance.
You may contact the Delinquency Unit at (916) 445-2021, extension 6, or by email at Delinquency@doj.ca.gov, or by mail at Registry of Charitable Trusts, Attention: Delinquency Unit, P.O. Box 903447, Sacramento, CA 94203-4470. Be sure to include your CT number and contact information on all correspondence.