If your organization wishes to conduct business in Massachusetts and has Registered in Massachusetts with the Secretary of State (as a corporation) or is otherwise a Massachusetts-based entity, AND you HAVE NOT completed the first fiscal year of operations, you must send in the following to a) facilitate the determination that your organization is a charity subject to registration and b) register your organization to legally conduct business:
- A copy of the organization's charter, articles of organization*, agreement of association, instrument of trust, or written statement of purpose, whichever is applicable;
- A list of the current officers/directors and their addresses;
- A copy of the organization's by-laws; and
- A copy of the IRS letter** designating the organization's 501(c)(3) status, if the organization has received one.
- Initial registration fee of $100, payable to the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts".
- A Short Form PC – If organization wishes to solicit*** and has not completed first fiscal year must submit this form with a fee of $50, payable to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts”.****
Please note: The information a charity provides to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Corporations Division (Corporation's Division) or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not come to the AGO; the three are completely separate agencies with separate purposes and filing requirements. Although you may be registered as a nonprofit corporation with the Secretary of the Commonwealth and file annual reports, your status as a public charity requires separate registration and filing with the AGO. Any documents submitted to the Corporations Division or the IRS, such as the Annual Report, Articles of Organization or IRS Form 990, will not reach the AGO.
*"Articles of organization" are not the same as by-laws; the two are separate documents entirely. Also note that a "statement of purpose" is an official document explaining in detail the organization's goals and practices.
**If the organization has applied for 501(c)(3) status but not yet received it, it is not necessary to send a copy of the IRS Form 1023. It is best to note the application in a cover letter and submit a copy of the determination letter when it is received. The IRS determination letter is not the same as the state sales tax exemption, DOR Form ST-2. We do not require a copy of the ST-2.
***If the organization has not yet finished its first fiscal year, and it does not intend to solicit funds, it may send the five required items in without any additional filings. It will be assigned an AG number and will be expected to file its "Form PC" four and one-half months after its fiscal year end.
****Please note that even if you submit a Short Form PC when registering for the first time, you must ALSO submit a Form PC four and one-half months after the fiscal year end.
The Short Form PC
If the organization has not yet completed its first fiscal year, and it would like to solicit funds, the required registration items may be accompanied by a Short Form PC . This form gives us an idea of the types of activities the organization will undertake to raise funds as it gets started. It covers the current fiscal year, beginning on the date the organization was created and ending on the date of the upcoming fiscal year end. Date of Incorporation and Fiscal Year End must match dates stated in the Articles of Organization.
The Short Form should be submitted with a filing fee of $50 made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please note that the $50 filing fee accompanying the Short Form PC is separate from, and in addition to the $100 registration fee. The $100 registration fee is required for all registrations received by the Division on or after 1/1/2011.
The AGO receives dozens of new registrations each week in addition to hundreds of Forms PC for groups already registered with the AGO. Consequently, it may take six to eight weeks to process your initial registration. Please be patient with us, as we register groups in the order we receive their paperwork.
If you have questions not answered here, or would like to check on the status of your organization, you can reach the AGO at (617) 727-2200, ext. 2101.
Our mailing address is:
Office of the Attorney General
Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108