California Nonprofit Filing Requirements 2024

Kaitlin Edwards | May 16, 2024

California Nonprofit Filing Requirements 2024

Nonprofit organizations play an important role in our communities. They provide essential services, advocate for important causes, and create positive social impact. If your organization is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, you enjoy specific tax-exempt benefits granted by the federal government. These benefits are well worth protecting.

Maintaining your nonprofit status requires staying organized and on top of important deadlines. The various filing requirements can feel overwhelming, and missing due dates can lead to penalties or even revocation of your tax-exempt status.

That’s where tools like Mosey can be a lifesaver. Mosey helps streamline your compliance so you can focus on your organization’s mission, not paperwork. If you’re doing business in California and need to ensure your compliance, join us as we go over all the California nonprofit filing requirements.

What Are Key Federal Filings?

As a nonprofit, maintaining your tax-exempt status is imperative. One of the key ways to do this is by consistently meeting your federal filing obligations. The IRS Form 990 series is the cornerstone of maintaining that compliance and demonstrating your accountability to the public.

Let’s break down what this form entails:

IRS Form 990 Series

The IRS Form 990 series focuses on maintaining your reputation within the community and with potential donors. These forms provide information about your organization’s finances, programs, and leadership. Your completed forms become a matter of public record, demonstrating your commitment to good governance.

Here’s a breakdown of the three main versions of the Form 990:

  • 990-N (E-Postcard): This is your go-to if you’re a smaller nonprofit with annual gross receipts generally below $50,000. Think of it as the quick and easy version.

  • 990-EZ: If your nonprofit’s annual gross receipts fall between $50,000 and $200,000, you’ll likely file the 990-EZ. It goes into a bit more detail than the e-postcard.

  • 990: This is the most comprehensive Form 990. It’s required if your nonprofit has gross receipts exceeding $200,000 or if your total assets are over $500,000.

Most nonprofits that follow a standard calendar year as their fiscal year have until May 15th to file their Form 990. However, it’s always wise to double-check your specific deadline based on your organization’s structure.

What Are the California State Filings?

California has its own set of requirements for nonprofits. Let’s walk through them together:

CA Franchise Tax Board Form 199N

If the IRS Form 990 series feels familiar, there’s a reason. California’s Form 199N mirrors much of the information you’ll provide to the IRS. Think of it as the state’s way of ensuring you’re upholding your tax-exempt status on both federal and state levels.

Filing eligibility here also depends on your gross receipts. If your average annual gross receipts over the past three years fall below $50,000, you can use the simplified e-postcard version of Form 199N.

Deadlines for Form 199N are generally the 15th day of the 5th month after your fiscal year ends. For most nonprofits with a calendar year, that means May 15th.

CA Attorney General Form RRF-1

While the Form 199N focuses on finances, the RRF-1 is all about your charitable activities. You’ll need to file this form annually with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. It’s essentially an update for the state on how your nonprofit is fulfilling its mission.

You can find forms and instructions directly on the Attorney General’s website. Just like federal filings, there are deadlines for your RRF-1, so be sure to mark your calendar accordingly.

CA Secretary of State’s Statement of Information - Nonprofit

Consider the Statement of Information - Nonprofit your nonprofit’s “check-in” with the state. This form keeps California updated on key information about your organization, like your current address, principal officers, and the person designated to receive official mail.

You’ll need to file this initially within 90 days of receiving your Articles of Incorporation. After that, it’s a biennial requirement, meaning you file it every other year. The exact due date depends on the month your Articles of Incorporation were filed, and you can file up to five months in advance.

With multiple forms and deadlines to track, staying organized is essential for California nonprofits. Consider using a compliance calendar specifically tailored to your organization’s needs.

With Mosey, much of this compliance management becomes automated, and you’ll receive reminders to keep you on schedule.

What Are Some Additional Considerations?

While you’ve tackled the major federal and state filings, there are still a few more things to keep on your California compliance radar. So, let’s go over some additional considerations that might catch nonprofits off guard.

Sales Tax Exemptions

Don’t assume your nonprofit status automatically means tax-free shopping in California. Unfortunately, the state doesn’t offer a blanket sales tax exemption for nonprofits, so you might still be responsible for sales tax in certain situations.

The good news is that specific exemptions might apply depending on the type of sales your nonprofit engages in. For example, you could be exempt from sales tax on the sale of meals to patients, students, or residents of care facilities. There are additional exemptions related to things like thrift stores and fundraising events.

The best place to figure out where your nonprofit stands is the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) website. They provide detailed information on the types of exemptions and how to apply for them.

Registered Agent

Think of your registered agent as your nonprofit’s official point of contact with the state of California. They must be an individual or a corporation with a physical street address in California. This is where important legal documents and official state correspondence will be sent.

Why is this important? If you ever miss a critical notice or filing deadline, your registered agent can ensure the information still reaches you, preventing potential penalties or issues with your nonprofit status.

Using a family member or an officer of the nonprofit as your registered agent might seem convenient, but their address could change. A dedicated registered agent service provides stability and reliability. Mosey can serve as your registered agent, taking another task off of your to-do list.

Staying Compliant in the Golden State

California takes its nonprofit compliance seriously. Maintaining a registered agent with a California address is a non-negotiable part of operating your organization within the state. Choosing a reputable registered agent service can offer additional peace of mind and streamline compliance processes.

What Is the Value of Compliance Automation for Nonprofits?

If compliance currently feels like a chaotic jumble of deadlines and regulations, get ready for a shift. Here, we’re looking at how modern tools can simplify and clarify your nonprofit’s compliance management.

Staying on top of compliance as a nonprofit can feel like a never-ending juggling act. Between deciphering complex regulations, tracking deadlines across multiple states, and ensuring everything is documented correctly, there’s plenty of room for things to slip through the cracks. Compliance automation can help keep you on track in a few key ways.

Saves Time

Researching laws and regulations is essential, but it can steal valuable hours away from actually fulfilling your mission. Every minute spent combing through legal documents is time not spent on fundraising, program development, or community outreach.

Compliance automation can help take care of tedious compliance tasks that would otherwise turn into a time suck.

Reduces Human Error

Even the most dedicated staff can make mistakes, especially when dealing with the nuanced details of compliance. Misinterpreting a regulation, miscalculating a deadline, or overlooking a form can have unwelcome consequences.

Compliance automation helps minimize the risk of human error by reducing the extent to which a human needs to be involved. No more stressing over getting the tiny details right.

Aids With Growing Pains

As your nonprofit expands, so does the depth of your compliance obligations. What might have been manageable as a small, local organization can quickly become overwhelming when you’re operating across multiple states or hiring employees in new locations.

Compliance automation makes the process seamless by keeping everything you need organized and even taking steps off of your plate.

What Are the Benefits of Automating With Mosey?

Now, what if there was a way to streamline this process? Mosey offers an alternative to the manual compliance struggle.

Here’s how:

Centralized Platform

Instead of scattered spreadsheets and notes, Mosey brings all your state compliance tasks into one easy-to-use dashboard. This provides a clear overview of your obligations and deadlines across multiple jurisdictions.

Built-in Expertise

Laws and regulations change frequently. Mosey’s team of experts constantly monitors these updates. That knowledge is baked right into the platform, so you don’t have to become a legal scholar yourself.

Simplified Processes

Mosey automates many routine compliance tasks, from automating opening tax accounts to reminding you about deadlines. It even integrates with your existing systems (like your payroll provider) to ensure your compliance stays up-to-date as your organization evolves.

Is it about time you took the guesswork out of compliance? Mosey frees up those precious hours and brainpower, allowing you to focus on what truly matters — driving your nonprofit’s impact.

No more frantic searches for deadlines. That feeling of security is what compliance automation brings to the table.

Your Nonprofit’s Compliance Journey Begins With Mosey

Staying compliant in California involves managing multiple forms and deadlines. From federal Form 990 filings to state-specific requirements, maintaining your nonprofit status demands organization and vigilance.

Noncompliance can lead to penalties and jeopardize the trust you’ve built with donors and the community. That’s where Mosey comes in. If you need help with your California nonprofit filing requirements, let Mosey’s compliance management platform streamline the process.

We help you stay on top of critical deadlines and ensure you meet your obligations in California and beyond. Want to learn how Mosey can make compliance a breeze? Book a demo with us today.

Read more from Mosey:

Review your compliance risks, free.

Ready to get started?

Sign up now or schedule a free consultation to see how Mosey transforms business compliance.