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This directory offers a starting point for individuals seeking assistance in establishing, operating and managing nonprofit charitable organizations. This is an informational resource only, which provides contact information for government agencies, low-cost legal services and technical assistance. Listing here is not an endorsement of the organization or its web content.

Links to topics below


Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
(877) 829-5500

Oversees federal tax-exempt status of charitable organizations and provides a range of resources to assist charities, private foundations and other nonprofit organizations with federal reporting compliance.

California Franchise Tax Board (FTB)
(916) 845-4171

Oversees state tax-exempt status of charitable organizations in California and compliance with state tax reporting requirements.

California Secretary of State
(916) 653-8814
Name Availability Unit
(916) 657-5448

Charities seeking to operate in California must file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State and a current list of board officers.

Recorded information on how to obtain a name for nonprofit corporations.

California Attorney General
(916) 322-3360 or 1-800-952-5225

Registry of Charitable Trusts
P.O. Box 903447
Sacramento, CA 94203-4470

Charitable Trusts Section - Los Angeles
300 South Spring Street, Room 1702
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Charitable Trusts Section - San Francisco
455 Golden Gate Ave., Suite 11000
San Francisco, CA 94102-7004

Charities operating in California must register and file annual financial reports with the Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts. The Attorney General's Charities website offers resources to help charities with registration and reporting compliance. Compliance and enforcement are handled by the Attorney General's Charitable Trusts Section.

Cities and counties may have local ordinances to protect consumers against fraudulent solicitations. Charities should check on local requirements that may require charities and charitable fundraisers to register, certify their tax-exempt status, obtain a license to solicit and file accountings of fundraising proceeds. Available at the above link is a current listing of more than 200 licensing offices in cities and counties that have ordinances affecting charities and charitable fundraisers. This list is compiled by the Continuing Education of the Bar, and is included in its 2-volume publication, Advising California Nonprofit Corporations.

California Board of Equalization
(800) 400-7115

Administers state tax assessment policies in four general areas: sales and use taxes, property taxes, special taxes and the tax appellate program.

California Employment Development Department
(888) 745-3886

Provides labor market data for the state and by county.

Federal Trade Commission

Information for donors about charities.

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Charitable Solicitation & Fundraising

BBB Wise Giving Alliance
The Council of Better Business Bureaus
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800
Arlington, VA 22203-1804
(800) 575-GIVE

Information for donors about charities.

American Institute of Philanthropy
3450 North Lake Shore Dr., Suite 2802E
P.O. Box 578460
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 529-2300

Information for donors about charities.


Provides searchable database of charities nationwide and information for donors about charitable organizations.

Charity Navigator

Information for donors about charities.

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Change in Raffle Reporting Requirements

Please note: A single aggregate report for all raffles held during the reporting year is due on or before October 1st. The Nonprofit Raffle Report (Form CT-NRP-2) must be used by all organizations. Precise record-keeping is required as reports that include estimates of proceeds and expenses will not be accepted for filing. Organizations that host raffles as part of a larger fundraising event must maintain a record of raffle proceeds and expenses separate from all other event monies: only raffle proceeds and expenses on Form CT-NRP-2.

Filing a Complaint

Have a complaint against a charity? Please use our complaint form, pdf. Mail the completed form and any attachments to:

  • Registry of Charitable Trusts
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • P.O. Box 903447
  • Sacramento, CA 94203-4470

Megan's Law

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