Charities provide significant benefits to Massachusetts residents as well as people across the country and throughout the world. These organizations operate solely for the benefit of the public, and the Attorney General's Office (AGO) is responsible for protecting the public's interest in their activities.
The Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division is responsible for overseeing more than 25,000 public charities in Massachusetts, including ensuring appropriate application of charitable assets, investigating allegations and initiating enforcement actions in cases of breach of fiduciary duty, and supporting transparency through publication of filed reports and forms. The Division also oversees paid fundraisers, including enforcement of registration and filing requirements and prosecution of solicitation fraud.
The Division announces two major changes to filing requirements. First, effective immediately, the threshold for submitting an IRS Form 990 to the Division is increased from $5,000 to $25,000. Second, beginning September 1, 2023, the Division will require all charitable registration and annual filings to be made through the Charity Portal; paper submissions will no longer be accepted after that date.
TEMPORARY EXTENSION: In September, the IRS announced that it was extending the submission deadlines in the Commonwealth for a variety of individual and corporate tax filings, including the IRS Forms 990 filed by public charities. To ensure that public charities submitting annual filings in the Commonwealth are not faced with conflicting deadlines, the Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division is issuing a similar temporary extension—any annual filings due to be filed with the AGO between September 15, 2023 and February 15, 2024 (including those already on extension to a date on or after September 15, 2023) will be considered timely filed with the AGO if they are filed on or before February 15, 2024.
Public Charities Filing Requirements
Massachusetts requires all public charities operating in Massachusetts to register and file annual reports with the AGO's Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division. Public charities operate for the exclusive benefit of the public and these annual reports provide a valuable source of information regarding a charitable organization's programs, activities, and finances.
Most charities rely on donations from the public to accomplish their goals. Some charities raise funds on their own, while others hire professionals to raise funds on their behalf. Professional solicitors, fundraising counsel, and commercial co-venturers who solicit on behalf of charities in Massachusetts must also register with the AGO. Professional solicitors and commercial co-venturers are required to register charitable campaigns by filing the Form 10A (solicitors) or Form 10B (co-venturers), and to submit annual financial reports for each campaign (Form 11A or 11B). These forms are now available to the public via the Public Charities Filing Search Website, searchable by charity. The annual filing document search website does not currently allow users to search for a specific fundraiser by name. Instead, the annual financial reports (Form 11A, 11B) and the registration documents (Form 10A and 10B) are listed as an "Other/Misc." document type under the applicable charity for which the fundraising campaign is held. Please see the Professional Fundraiser Guide for additional information on registration and reporting requirements for fundraisers.
The AGO's Public Charities Filing Search website allows you to search for and access the annual reports of public charities filed with the AGO, as well as documents filed by professional fundraisers. You may search by name, Attorney General registration number, or FEIN #.
The AGO provides this Public Charities Filing Search website to expand public access to the information public charities file with the Office. When you access and review these reports, please be aware of the following caveats and disclaimers:
(1) The registration of a public charity or their fundraisers with the AGO does not constitute an endorsement by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the AGO. Moreover, the inclusion of a public charity in the Public Charities Filing Search website does not indicate in any manner that the Attorney General supports, sanctions, or verifies the information of such charitable organization.
(2) The filings available on the AGO's website were submitted by public charities and professional fundraisers. The AGO does not control the financial materials and information it receives, is not responsible for, and cannot guarantee the accuracy, quality, completeness, or validity of any information or reports on the Public Charities Filing Search website.
(3) The Public Charities Filing Search website is intended as an informational tool only and is being made available as a public service. Please note that recently filed reports, as well as reports filed more than four years ago, may not be in the database. If a report does not appear in the database, it does not necessarily mean the public charity or fundraiser is delinquent or has failed to file the report.
Visit the Non-Profits & Charities Public Charities Filing Search website.