Help for Minnesota Charitable Organizations Initial Registration

Non profit organizationThe following questions and answers are provided to help people completing the Minnesota Charitable Organization Initial Registration & Annual Report Form.

I have received questions from people completing the State of Minnesota: Charitable Organization Initial Registration & Annual Report Form. Here are my responses.

Question: When do I need to file the Minnesota Charitable Organization Initial Registration?

We were not planning on filing our nonprofit’s Form 990 until May, and I am therefore wondering by which date I need to submit the Charitable Organization Initial Registration & Annual Report Form. If Minnesota registration needs to be completed before then, I can contact them and put a rush on it?

Answer:

In Minnesota, the Office of Minnesota Attorney General is primarily responsible for overseeing and regulating organizations and trusts that solicit funds in Minnesota. As part of this responsibility, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office requires that charitable organizations (unless they are exempt) file certain documents before the organization is allowed to solicit contributions from people in Minnesota. In addition, the Office of Minnesota Attorney General requires ongoing yearly reports. It is important that you comply with these requirements because it is a misdemeanor for any organization to willfully and knowingly violate these reporting requirements or willfully and knowingly give false information to the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office in its required statements, reports, or contracts.

The Minnesota Attorney General provides this guidance:

If an organization intends to receive in excess of $25,000 in total contributions (exclusive of the direct cost of prizes given to the public by the charitable organization in connection with lawful gambling conducted in compliance with chapter 349) during any accounting year, or pays staff, officers or a professional fund-raiser, it must register before it solicits contributions in the State of Minnesota. If it does not do any of the above, it must register within 30 days after the date on which its total contributions (exclusive of the direct cost of prizes given to the public by the charitable organization in connection with lawful gambling conducted in compliance with chapter 349) exceed $25,000.

Learn more: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/charities/instructionsir.asp

Question: For the Board Members, who should sign?

Section Four, Board of Directors Signatures and Acknowledgement requires a signature of the Board of Directors, and leaves two spaces for name/signature/title/date. CiviliNation has total of five Directors, of which I am one. Am I correct in assuming that, once the form is completed, I can simply scan and email a copy of the form to the Directors and have each individually sign the page and return it to me, and then submit copies of every page containing all the signatures in total to Minnesota? Also, does the date that each Director needs to signed the document have to be the same? I am asking because all the directors live in different time zones and hence will likely be reviewing the document at different times and dates.

Answer:

This section of the form is asking for officers to sign. For example, the secretary, president, and treasurer are officers. The date of signatures should be the date actually signed; signatures can occur on different dates.

Question: How much is the registration fee?

The form states that a filing fee needs to be submitted, but doesn’t state what that is. How much is the Minnesota Charitable Organization Initial Registration & Annual Report Form?

Answer:

The Registration Fee is $25.00.

Learn more: http://www.ag.state.mn.us/charities/instructionsir.asp

Question: Is there a cheaper alternative?

The legal fees, accounting fees, reporting requirements, and legal compliance seems like more than we need. We really just need an account that people can give money to, and that money will then be donated to another 501(c)(3) organization. Is there a cheaper option than setting up a nonprofit organization?

Answer:

Rather than dealing with all of the overhead of setting up and operating your own organization, you may want to set up an account with The Minneapolis Foundation, which charges an administrative fee to operate a fund under their 501(c)(3) organization. This may be a cheaper, less time consuming option, for those who simply need a tax-deductible fund where people can donate. For more information, visit http://www.minneapolisfoundation.org/AboutUs.aspx.

Learn More:

Many of these answers can be found in the initial registration instructions, annual reporting instructions, or on the form itself. Go here for other Minnesota charity forms.