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Attorney General Lockyer Unveils New Web Site Feature Enhancing Public Access to Information on Charities

Wednesday, October 6, 1999
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(Sacramento) - Attorney General Bill Lockyer today unveiled a new web site homepage feature that for the first time makes the latest financial returns for charities registered in California readily accessible through a searchable database on the Internet at http://www.caag.state.ca.us/charities.

"We have more than 80,000 charities registered with the Attorney General's Office - nearly one-eighth of all charities in the United States," Lockyer said. "By creating this searchable database and making it available through the Internet, we are able to offer Californians a valuable new tool to get information on a charity they are being solicited by, or are thinking of supporting or have supported. Providing this kind of fingertip access to information on charities also will help protect against fraudulent solicitations."

Lockyer said the web site contains the names of the 80,626 charities registered to date with the Attorney General's Registry of Charitable Trusts, and the most current financial returns filed by charities with income or assets of $25,000 or more. The scanned documents currently cover the reporting year 1998 for the majority of charities that have already filed their information.

New images will be added regularly as charities submit their annual financial returns. Filing deadlines vary according to the end of each charity's fiscal year. In time, the database will cover three years of financial returns for charities that file IRS Form 990 (public charities), IRS Form 990PF (private foundations) or IRS Form 990EZ.

All public charitable trusts are required to register with the Attorney General's Office, with the exception of hospitals, schools and religious organizations. Most charitable organizations seek tax-exempt status under federal Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) and California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 23701(d). These charities file annual returns with the IRS, Franchise Tax Board and Attorney General's Office, unless their income or assets are under $25,000.

Lockyer said that improving oversight of charitable trusts is a top priority for his administration. He fashioned a budget that provided the first increase in staffing in 16 years for the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Section which oversees registered charities in California and is responsible for helping protect the public against loss of charitable assets through fraud or mismanagement by charity directors.

CHARITABLE TRUSTS AT A GLANCE

Searchable Charities Database:http://www.caag.state.ca.us/charities
Total registered charities in California 80,626
Total charitable assets reported $186.6 billion
Total charitable revenues reported $62.4 billion
Total registered charities - assets over $10 million Represents 88.96% of Total Charitable Assets 1,370
Total registered charities with assets over $1 million Represents 97.71% of Total Charitable Assets 6,488
Total registered charities with assets over $250,000 Represents 99.69% of Total Charitable Assets 12,032
Total registered charities with assets over $100,000 16,579
Total registered charities with assets between $25,000-$100,000 7,613
Total registered charities with assets under $25,000 56,434

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