Online Renewal System Checklist
Links to topics below
The Online Renewal System may be used to submit required annual reporting data and forms, pay renewal fees, and update an organization's registration address. The checklist below is available for download/printing: Online Renewal Checklist, pdf
The online session must be conducted by an agent authorized to sign on behalf of the organization.
Checklist to File Online
- Charity Registration Status must be Current or Current – Awaiting Reporting. Use the Registry Verification Search tool to verify status, look up previous and in-progress filings.
- IRS filing for the most recent full accounting period must have been submitted to the IRS. The Registry requires a complete, as-submitted copy of IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF including all schedules and attachments in PDF format. If you only file IRS Form 990-N, the Registry does not require a copy.
After the above are verified and completed, make ready these items to enter or upload before starting your online session:
- All data as required on Form RRF-1 & Instructions. You will not need to upload the PDF itself. Use of the Online Renewal System is in lieu of submitting Form RRF-1.
- Written explanations to all "Yes" answers to Questions 1 through 7 and 9 in Part B of Form RRF-1 & Instructions are required in a separate PDF file. Question 8 is exempted unless the Registry specifically requests an explanation later. See Tip: Creating a PDF File below.
- Organizations not required to, and do not, file IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ with the IRS must submit a complete and hand-signed Form CT-TR-1 & Instructions in PDF format. The Registry does not require Form CT-TR-1 from organizations that file Form 990, 990-EZ or 990-PF. Suggested steps to make Form CT-TR-1 ready for upload:
- Complete the form fields per instructions, typing directly into the fields.
- The TOTALs fields are not editable - they are calculated based on what is entered in the fields above them. You may need the latest version of Acrobat for this feature.
- Print and hand-sign. Only an agent authorized to sign on behalf of the organization may sign.
- Scan the completed, signed form to a PDF file.
- Do not include public and confidential documentation in the same PDF. Have ready a separate PDF file for all confidential portions of the IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ (e.g. Schedule B) and any other documentation. There is software (e.g. Adobe Acrobat) and other online tools to separate certain pages of existing PDFs into separate files.
- All individual files to be submitted must:
- If you are not required to (and do not) file IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ and your total revenue is $50,000 or more, have ready either Form CT-TR-1 & Instructions or a PDF document explaining why you need not submit either.
- There is a Renewal Fee required from organizations with total revenue of $25,001 or more. The Fee Schedule is on the first page of Form RRF-1 & Instructions. It must be paid online using a checking account (ACH) at the time of online submission. You will need your banking information including account and routing (ABA) numbers.
- Note: For those with ACH/debit blocks on their checking account, before submitting you must notify your bank to allow an ACH debit. The Registry/DOJ Company ID is 1082037180.
- All required documents and payments must be submitted together at the same time. An incomplete renewal submission will result in a Registry Status of Current - Reporting Incomplete until all remaining, required documents are received by U.S. Mail or email. You may not amend or update a submission using this system.
System Status Alert
The Online Renewal System and the Registry Verification Search tool are down for maintenance.
The general guidance available on this page is still valid and may be helpful to ready your filing.
To expedite online renewal for small charities in Current status, the Registry is providing a contact form.
For further details and system updates, see the Maintenance page.
User ID & Password
If you do not have a User ID and Password established or they are forgotten, you may use the Account Code or Registration Code provided by the Registry to set up or change User ID or Password. The Account Code and/or Registration Code are sent by postcard via U.S. Mail to the organizations eligible to file online who have not. The postcards are sent within 45 days after the expected end of the latest accounting period (about three months before the Renewal Due Date). The address used for the postcards is the latest registration address on file with the Registry.
Once established, User IDs and Passwords are not changed except by the organization. This can be done using their Account or Registration Code or the organization may ask the Registry to reset credentials by special request.
Remember or save your credentials in a safe place.
If you wish to pass online filing responsibility to another authorized agent, it is recommended that you reset the User ID and Password using your Account or Registration Code to something safe to share. (i.e. you do not use the User ID and Password on some other online site). Your replacement may then reset User ID and Password to something of their choosing using the Account or Registration Code.
Before contacting the Registry regarding your Account Code or Registration Code to establish or change your User ID and Password, make sure:
- It has been at least 45 days after your latest accounting period ended, and
- You have not received a postcard from the Registry with your Account Code or Registration Code, and
- Your organization is eligible to file online.
Update Charity Registration Address
The mailing address used by the Registry is the latest registration address on file with the Registry. This may be updated as part of filing an annual renewal or it may be updated separately, mid-year, using the Online Renewal System provided that the organization has already established a User ID & Password.
Tip: General Troubleshooting
The Online Renewal System should be compatible with the latest version of popular browsers for personal computers including:
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
- Apple Safari
- Microsoft Internet Explorer
Use of old versions of those browsers, different browsers, or cell phone apps may cause the system to appear to behave improperly. If it is not behaving as expected, be sure you are:
- Using the latest version of one of those browsers on a desktop or laptop personal computer, and
- Not using a cell phone browser app, and
- Your operating system (e.g. Windows) is up-to-date with recommended updates installed.
If all else fails, try:
- A different browser from the list above.
- Restarting your computer.
- Contacting us to see if there is a system problem affecting others as well.
For problems with PDFs, be sure you are using the latest version of Acrobat.
Tip: Creating a PDF
Many applications allow you to create a PDF file from a file that you already created with them. Examples are Microsoft Word and Google Docs. There are also some applications available online that allow you to create a PDF from an existing file of various formats. Under a File or Options menu, typical options are:
- Save As
For each of those, there may be a file type or print-to option of Adobe PDF or just PDF. Select that option, name your file and save the PDF to your computer.
Tip: Reducing PDF File Size
Sometimes a PDF file is too large for various reasons. PDFs created by scanning software, for example, can be much larger than they need to be based on the settings used (e.g. DPI, dots per inch). Online applications, like the Registry’s Online Renewal System, have certain maximum file sizes that they allow (e.g. the Registry’s is 6 MB per PDF).
There are applications, some online, that allow you to reduce the PDF file size while maintaining readability. As an example, with a version of Adobe Acrobat with this feature, the steps are typically something like this with the PDF open, under the File menu, select:
- Save As Other,
- Reduced Size PDF,
- For Acrobat Version Compatibility, set Make compatible with option to the latest version (e.g. Acrobat 10.0 or later),
- Select OK,
- Name your file, keep Save as type set to Adobe PDF, and select Save.
The above are typical steps for Acrobat, but the steps to reduce file size using other applications may be very different.