How to Keep Your Connecticut Nonprofit Compliant

Once you form a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Public Charity in Connecticut, follow this guide to keep it in good standing.  

To learn how to form a nonprofit, check out our How to Start a Nonprofit in Connecticut Guide.


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1. Apply for exemption from state taxes

A. State income tax exemption
Once your organization receives your 501(c) determination letter from the IRS, you can then file for state income tax exemptions along with your state Tax ID number, through form REG-1. By submitting your determination letter along with form REG-1, your nonprofit will automatically be exempt from state-level income tax.

Department of Revenue Services
PO Box 2937
Hartford, CT 06104-2937

Phone: (860) 297-5962
Web Site: www.ct.gov/DRS/
Filing Fee: $0

B. State sales tax exemption
Nonprofit corporations in Connecticut are also exempt from paying state sales tax as long as they follow these guidelines and provide a CERT-119 to sellers.

To learn more about state-level taxes and how they apply to nonprofits, visit this page on the Connecticut Department of Revenue website. 

2. Annual Federal Returns for Tax-exempt organizations

A) Annual Federal Returns

Most tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are required to file an annual return with the IRS (Click here for a list of exceptions).

The annual gross receipt amounts for an organization determine which form should be used to file the annual federal return.

‘Gross receipt’ is defined by the IRS as “the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses”

For gross receipts < $50,000 --- File 990-N
Gross receipts <$200,000 and total assets <$500,000 --- File 990-EZ
Gross receipts > $200,000 or Total assets > $500,00 --- File 990


For any questions, contact the IRS at:

  1. (800) 829-3676 (Form related questions)
  2. (800) 829-1040 (general information)

FAQ

Q: When is form 990 due?
A: Form 990 is due on the 15th due on the 15th day of the 5th month after the taxabale year of the organization comes to an end.

E.g. If the taxable year ends on December 31st, Form 990 is due on May 15th.

NOTE: If an organization fails to file Form 990 for 3 consecutive years, it will automatically lose tax-exempt status.

B) Unrelated Business Income

If an organization has a gross income of >$1000 from a trade or business that is not related to the stated purpose of the organization, then it must file Form 990-T to pay tax on that income.

If your organization expects to pay $500 or more for the year in taxes on unrelated business income, your organization must pay a quarterly estimated tax on the unrelated business income using Form 990-W.

3. Maintain a Registered Agent

Any nonprofit that has incorporated must have a registered agent, often called a statutory agent, who has an office address in Connecticut. If your registered agent, or their office address, changes, you must file Form AC-1-1.0 with the Secretary of State so that your Certificate of Incorporation may be updated. This form can also be completed online through the Secretary of State’s online filing system.

If you fail to notify the Secretary of State of this change, your corporation may be subject to termination.

4. File Periodic Reports

The Connecticut Secretary of State requires nonprofits to submit an annual report each year, which is due on the anniversary date of your nonprofit’s formation. This report can be completed online by using the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division Online Filing System.

Failure to file the appropriate reports may subject your organization to termination.

5. Apply for Permits and Licenses

Connecticut nonprofits may need to obtain a license or business permit, depending on the nature of your nonprofit.

Look through the Connecticut Economic Resource Center’s New Business Checklist and the Advance CT License Search to determine if you need to register.

If you would like to speak with someone about licensing requirements, contact the Advance CT at 1 (860) 571-7136.

6. Register/Renew Charitable Registration

Charitable Connecticut nonprofits who plan to solicit contributions must register with the Department of Consumer Protection through their website. In addition, if your organization plans to host charitable gaming (bingo, raffles, etc.), it must follow the guidelines set forth by the Department of Consumer Protection. To access those guidelines, check out this page on their website. 

7. Register with Connecticut Department of Labor

If your nonprofit will have employees, you need to register with the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Registration is easy and can be completed online or by mail. You can also access contact details for your local workforce commission on this page of the Connecticut Department of Labor website. 

8. Comply with Public Inspection Rules

To comply with federal regulations regarding 501(c)(3) charities, you will need to release the following documents to any member of the public that requests them:

  • Your organization’s annual returns for up to 3 years after the listed due date (including the following Forms: 990-PF, 990-EZ, 990-T, and 990)
  • Any supporting documents and attachments for the above 990 forms. However, you only need to include the nature of the contribution and the amount contributed for Schedule B.
  • Official IRS paperwork showing your organization is considered to be tax-exempt.
  • Your organization’s application for exemption and all supporting documents submitted with your application (including Form 1023).


Your organization does NOT need to share the following documents and information with members of the public:

  • Any portion of Form 990/990-EZ’s Schedule B that identifies who contributors are.
  • Anything considered to be an unfavorable ruling, which can include previous denials of tax-exempt status.
  • Any additional information permitted to be withheld by the IRS, including things such as trade secrets, patents, etc. 

Recommended: Inform your employees about their rights and stay compliant by posting labor law posters in your workplace.

FAQ

Q: Can I charge members of the public for copies?
A: Yes, you are permitted to request a reasonable amount to procure copies of requested documents.

Q: If requested, how much time do we have to produce the documents?
A: It is ideal to produce these documents within the same working day. However, if your nonprofit has limited office hours due to the time of year, or you don’t have a physical office at all, you should produce the documents within 14 days.

Q: Do I actually need to provide physical copies of the requested documents?
A: If a member of the public asks for copies of documents, whether in writing or in person, you are required to make them available.


NOTE: We recommend that nonprofits make these documents available on their website. That way, anyone who might request copies of these documents can simply head to your website to view and/or download them. This will help your organization remain compliant and save time dealing with these requests personally.

To learn more about forming a nonprofit, check out our How to Start a Nonprofit in Connecticut guide.

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