Non-profit officers face May deadline

Officers signing their non-profits' radically revised IRS Form 990 this year may want to read the small print on risking perjury by making false statements about filing at the state level for fund-raising and other activities, according to Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors, LLC, a New York-based consultancy group that advises non-profits.

"Charity registration and licensing throughout the 50 states has long been a regulatory morass that most non-profits avoided or ignored. Enforcement by the states has been nearly non-existent and many states don't have penalties for noncompliance," said Tony Martignetti, Esq., Managing Director of Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors. "This year the IRS stepped in and changed the game."

Martignetti noted that the new Form 990 — signed under penalty of perjury by an officer — makes it impossible to legally avoid state registrations because it calls for a list of the states in which a copy of the Form 990 is required to be filed.

"You can only answer that, however, after you research every state, figure out where to register, then search out whether those states require your 990," Martignetti said. "A question on Schedule G asks where 'the organization is registered or licensed to solicit funds or has been notified it is exempt from registration or licensing.' Again, a substantial and time-consuming amount of research is required to confidently respond."

Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors has addressed those issues with its newly published e-manual Charity Registration: State-by-State Guidelines for Compliance. Organized by state, the e-book is fully clickable and searchable. This is the only state-by-state manual available for the entire registration and licensing process, including filing forms.

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