Do you remember getting back a paper that you totally bombed and you have no clue why? Even if the content was some of your best, if you did not check the syllabus, you could have miss the key points; you did not comply with the teacher’s expectations. In a similar fashion, nonprofits can lose their compliance when they do not meet the government standards. If the company does not maintain certain standards, their 501(c)(3) status can be revoked. It is crucial to fully understand all the different requirements for compliance to be able to maintain it.
By definition, compliance is the state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards. When looking at nonprofits, there are two different sectors with which you have to comply: federal and state. As far as forms and documents go, at the federal level, it is vital to annually file a 990. This form focuses on information surrounding the income, expenses, program accomplishments, and board members of the nonprofit. As far as income goes, it is crucial that the nonprofit makes no substantial profit from any unrelated activity. When not filed in a timely manner, there are various monthly fees. When not filed for three years, the 501(c)(3) status is revoked.
At the state level, it becomes a bit more tricky to generalize because requirements tend to differ from state to state. However, in most states, the nonprofit must register with the Division of Charities. If the nonprofit crosses state lines, it must register in every state in which its present. Similarly to the 990 form, this needs to be renewed annually. As far as employee regulations go, they tend to differ from state to state.
In the less-tangible sector, there are a couple rules any nonprofit must follow. First, there are absolutely no shareholders allowed. Nonprofits are also prohibited from contributing to political campaigns. Some might ask, “well how can some well known nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood or the NRA outwardly support certain candidates?” These specific nonprofits have earned a 501(c)(4) status, permitting them to back campaigns. In a similar realm, nonprofits cannot lobby to affect legislation in any substantial way.
While compliance can often be overlooked, it is crucial to stay organized to ensure your nonprofit does not lose its 501(c)(3) status. Here at ExemptMeNow, we would never want any nonprofit to fall through the cracks because of any small error. That is why we provide our software service to keep track of all your forms and ensure it maintains compliance so that you will not fail the papers of the nonprofit world and can spend more time doing the social good your nonprofit is set out to do! Want to learn more about nonprofit compliance? Visit us online at www.exemptmenow.com.