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Bare Bones of Maintaining a Tax Exempt Organization

Last modified: February 19, 2024
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All tax exempt organizations should have Bylaws which demonstrate how the organization will be governed. Such Bylaws should include indications of when the annual meeting shall be held by the Board of Directors and, if relevant, the Members. Annual meetings are a good time to review the Bylaws and Conflict of Interest policy, as these meetings would also be when Directors are being elected and discussions for the year ahead would be discussed. Meeting minutes need to be taken and kept in the organization’s records.

In addition to the annual meetings being held, there are annual filing requirements which need to be maintained as well.

Most states require a corporate report to maintain the non-profit corporation. Not every state requires this to be done annually, however, so you should review your state’s requirements and make sure the filing schedule is followed to keep the corporation in active status. If you are soliciting in a state that requires registration, you will need to be sure renewals are filed as well to remain compliant and able to solicit support in those states. Note, this is not limited to the state of incorporation, but states that you have previously registered in to raise funds.

The IRS requires a Form 990, in one of the various versions to be filed annually as well, except those organizations which may be exempt from the Form 990 filing such as churches. For those entities that are not exempt, a Form 990 must be filed each year regardless of revenues received. Failure to file a Form 990 for three consecutive years would cause the automatic revocation of the entity’s exempt status, and would require filing for reinstatement.




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