Registering a Public Charity

All public charities doing business in Massachusetts must register with the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division of the Attorney General's Office (AGO), and file annual financial reports with the AGO. Upon registration, the AGO will assign the public charity an Attorney General Account Number (AG Number). Any charities that wish to solicit funds must also obtain a Certificate for Solicitation before engaging in fundraising activities.

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Submit New Registration Materials by Email

AGO Is Accepting New Registration Materials by Email Only

Because of widespread disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently processing initial charities registrations as PDF attachments via email only.

Please submit each registration document required as a separate PDF attachment.  When naming PDF files, please use the following naming conventions, and include the organization name and the type of submission being made:

  • For Charity Registration Form: “OrgName RegistrationForm.pdf”
  • For Articles of Incorporation: “OrgName Articles.pdf”
  • For Bylaws: “OrgName Bylaws.pdf”
  • For IRS determination letter: “OrgName IRS letter.pdf”
  • For Board of Directors list: “OrgName BoD list.pdf”
  • For Schedule A-2 Form: “OrgName ScheduleA2.pdf”

For any submission which includes one or more Form PC filings, please label each part of the filings (Form PC, 990, financial statement) as separate files and include the fiscal year. For example:

  • For Forms PC: “OrgName FY2019 Form PC.pdf”
  • For IRS Forms 990: “OrgName FY2019 Form 990.pdf”
  • For financial statements: “OrgName FY2019 FIN.pdf”

Please submit initial registration materials to: charitiesfilings@mass.gov . Following review, a Charities Specialist will reach out to initial registrants regarding payment options. In addition, where a signature is required, we will accept original signatures, photocopies of signatures, and e-signatures (e.g., DocuSign).

Massachusetts Entity - Registering After Initial Fiscal Year End Date

If your organization wishes to conduct business in Massachusetts and has either registered as a corporation with the Massachusetts Secretary of State or is otherwise a Massachusetts-based charitable entity, AND your first fiscal year end date is in the past you must send in the following in order to register your organization to legally conduct business:

  1. completed Registration Form and Checklist;
  2. A copy of the organization's charter, articles of organization*, agreement of association; instrument of trust, or written statement of purpose, whichever is applicable;
  3. A list of the current officers/directors and their addresses;
  4. A copy of the organization's by-laws;
  5. A copy of the IRS letter** designating the organization's 501(c)(3) status, if the organization has received one;
  6. Initial registration fee of $100, a check made payable to the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts";
  7. Form PC (Instructions): Since the initial FYE date has passed, you must report that year's financial data on a Form PC, Form 990, and, as appropriate, reviewed or audited financial statements, to account for any activity (or lack of activity) from the date of the creation of your organization; and

Following review, a Charities Specialist will reach out to initial registrants regarding payment options for the initial registration fee ($100) and additional fees for the Forms PC based on Gross Support and Revenue (see chart below).

Gross Support and Revenue Filing Fee
Less than $100,000 $35
$100,001 to $250,000 $70
$250,001 to $500,000 $125
$500,001 to $1 million $250
$1,000,001 to $10 million $500
$10,000,001 to $100 million $1,000
$100 million + $2000

* "Articles of organization" are not the same as by-laws; the two are separate documents. 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 once 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.

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 not-for-profit 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.

 

Massachusetts Entity - Registering Before Initial Fiscal Year End Date

If your organization wishes to conduct business in Massachusetts and has either registered as a Massachusetts corporation with the Massachusetts Secretary of State or is otherwise a Massachusetts-based charitable entity, AND your first fiscal year end date is in the future, you must send in the following in order to register your organization to legally conduct business:

  1. A completed Registration Form and Checklist;
  2. A copy of the organization's charter, articles of organization*, articles of incorporation, agreement of association, instrument of trust, or written statement of purpose, whichever is applicable;
  3. A list of the current officers/directors and their addresses;
  4. A copy of the organization's by-laws;
  5. A copy of the IRS letter** designating the organization's 501(c)(3) status, if the organization has received one;
  6. If the organization does not intend to solicit funds, it may send the first six 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. If the organization has solicited or it intends to solicit funds, or to have funds solicited on its behalf, then the organization must include the Schedule A-2; and

Following review, a Charities Specialist will reach out to initial registrants regarding payment options for the initial registration fee ($100) and Schedule A-2 filing fee ($10) if applicable. 

*"Articles of organization" are not the same as by-laws; the two are separate documents. 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.

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 not-for-profit 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.

    Out-Of-State Charity - Registering After Initial Fiscal Year End Date in Massachusetts

    If your organization is based in or was created in another state AND your initial fiscal year end date is in the past (even if you have been in operation for less than a full 12 months), you must send in the following to register your organization to legally conduct business in Massachusetts:

    1. completed Registration Form and Checklist;
    2. A copy of the organization's charter, articles of organization*, agreement of association, instrument of trust, or written statement of purpose, whichever is applicable;
    3. A list of the current officers/directors and their addresses;
    4. A copy of the organization's by-laws;
    5. A copy of the IRS letter** designating the organization's 501(c)(3) status, if the organization has received one;
    6. Form PC (Instructions): Since the initial FYE date has passed, you must report that year's financial data on a Form PC, Form 990, and, as appropriate, reviewed or audited financial statements, to account for any activity (or lack of activity) from the date of the creation of your organization; and

    Following review, a Charities Specialist will reach out to initial registrants regarding payment options for the initial registration fee ($100) and additional fees for the Forms PC based on Gross Support and Revenue (see chart below).

    Gross Support and Revenue Filing Fee
    Less than $100,000 $35
    $100,001 to $250,000 $70
    $250,001 to $500,000 $125
    $500,001 to $1 million $250
    $1,000,001 to $10 million $500
    $10,000,001 to $100 million $1000
    $100 million + $2000

    *"Articles of organization" are not the same as by-laws; the two are separate documents. 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.

    The information a charity provides to the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Corporations Division (Corporations 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 not-for-profit 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.

     

    Out-Of-State Charity - Registering Before Initial Fiscal Year End Date in Massachusetts

    If your organization is based in or was created in another state another state and your initial FYE date is in the future, you must send in the following to register your organization to legally conduct business:

    1. A completed Registration Form and Checklist;
    2. A copy of the organization's charter, articles of organization*, agreement of association, instrument of trust, or written statement of purpose, whichever is applicable;
    3. A list of the current officers/directors and their addresses;
    4. A copy of the organization's by-laws;
    5. A copy of the IRS letter** designating the organization's 501(c)(3) status, if the organization has received one;
    6. If the organization does not intend to solicit funds, it may send the first six 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. If the organization has solicited or it intends to solicit funds, or to have funds solicited on its behalf, in Massachusetts, then the organization must include the Schedule A-2; and

    Following review, a Charities Specialist will reach out to initial registrants regarding payment options for the initial registration fee ($100) and Schedule A-2 filing fee ($50) if applicable. 

    * "Articles of organization" are not the same as by-laws; the two are separate documents. 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.

    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 not-for-profit 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.
     

    The URS (Unified Registration Statement)

    The URS is a reporting form designed for charities registered in numerous states. Massachusetts accepts the URS in lieu of the Schedule A-2 only (a registration form must still be completed) from organizations based in other states only for an initial registration, and only if the organization has not yet passed its initial fiscal year end date of operating in Massachusetts. The completed Registration Form and Checklist should still be submitted with the URS. It is not necessary to send a copy of the organization's most recent Form 990 or financial statement with the URS.

    If the organization has passed its first fiscal year end date (even if it has been less than a full 12 months) while operating in MA, it must submit a Form PC and the URS will not be accepted. Organizations based in Massachusetts may not use the URS at all. Out-of-state organizations are required to submit the Form PC for all subsequent filings.

    If a URS is submitted in lieu of a Schedule A-2, a $50 fee will still apply.  Following review, a Charities Specialist will reach out to initial registrants regarding payment options.

    Contact

    Address

    Office of the Attorney General, Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division
    One Ashburton Place
    Boston, MA 02108
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