To maintain a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in Louisiana you must:
- Apply for exemption from state taxes
- File Annual Federal Returns for Tax-exempt organizations
- Maintain a Registered Agent
- File periodic reports
- Pay the Louisiana Franchise Tax
- Apply for permits and licenses
- Register/Renew Charitable Registration
- Register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue
- Comply with Public Inspection Rules
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 send a copy of that letter to the Department of Revenue to be exempt from filing state-level income taxes.
Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 201
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0201
Phone: (225)-219-7462 or 1-855-307-3893 or
B. State sales tax exemption
To apply for a sales tax exemption, fill out form R-1048 and mail it to:
Louisiana Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 3278
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-3278
You can also email the form to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax the form to: (225) 952-2406.
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 (Check the IRS website 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 any questions, contact the IRS at
- (800) 829-3676 (Form related questions)
- (800) 829-1040 (general information)
Q: When is form 990 due?
A: Form 990 is due on the 15th day of the 5th month after the taxable year of the organization comes to an end.
E.g. If the taxable year ends on Dec 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 who has an office address in Louisiana. If your registered agent, or their office address, changes, you must file Form SS984 with the Secretary of State so that your Articles of Incorporation may be updated.
NOTE: If you operate in one of the following counties, you must submit your changes online: Ascension, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Lafayette, Livingston, Orleans, Ouachita, Rapides, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Terrebonne.
If you fail to notify the Secretary of State of this change, your corporation may be subject to termination.
4. File Periodic Reports
The Louisiana Secretary of State requires all nonprofits to file an annual report. Annual reports may be completed online and you must file by the anniversary date of your nonprofit’s incorporation.
Failure to file the appropriate reports may subject your organization to termination.
5. Pay the Louisiana Franchise Tax
Every nonprofit that operates in Louisiana will be required to pay a state Franchise Tax, unless the Louisiana Department of Revenue has granted them an exemption.
To learn more about franchise tax exemptions, access the Louisiana State Legislature’s Statutes (RS 47:608) to determine if your organization is eligible. If eligible for an exemption, you will need to contact the Department of Revenue to request it:
Louisiana Department of Revenue
Office Audit Division
Attn: ICFT Unit
PO Box 66362
Baton Rouge, LA 70896-6362
Phone: (225) 219-2267
NOTE: Even after your nonprofit has applied for a franchise tax exemption, you must continue to pay the franchise tax until an exemption is granted.
6. Apply for Permits and Licenses
The majority of Louisiana nonprofits will not need a state-level business license. However, many cities and counties in Louisiana have their own rules and regulations. Contact your local city hall to determine the requirements for your city/county.
7. Register/Renew Charitable Registration
Charitable Louisiana nonprofits are typically exempt from registering as a charitable organization. However, if your charity uses a professional solicitor, you will need to register with the Louisiana Attorney General. You can read more about the requirements on their website and access both the registration and renewal form there.
8. Register with Louisiana Department of Revenue
If your nonprofit will have employees of any kind, you will need to register with the Louisiana Department of Revenue to obtain an Employer Account. If you have not done so already, you can complete your registration online through their website.
In addition, you will need to register with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and obtain an Unemployment Tax Account. Registration is easy and can be completed online. You can also access contact details for your local workforce commission online.
9. 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.
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 about forming a nonprofit, check out our How to Start a Nonprofit in Louisiana guide.