646 666 9601 [email protected]

To maintain your 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Public Charity in good standing in Maine, follow this advice.

8 Ways to Keep Your Nonprofit Legal

In order to keep a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company in Maine, you must:

Apply for a state tax exemption.
Tax-exempt organisations must file annual federal returns.
Keep a Registered Agent on file.
Submit periodic reports
Request permissions and licences
Registration of Charities
Follow the Public Inspection Rules.

Legal Help CTA

1. Apply for a state tax exemption.

A. Exemption from state income taxes

Once you obtain the IRS 501(c) decision letter, your organisation will be immediately excluded from paying corporation income taxes.

B. Exemption from state sales tax

Fill out the necessary form on the Maine Revenue Services website to apply for a sales tax exemption.

2. Tax-exempt Organizations’ Annual Federal Returns

A. Federal Annual Returns

The IRS requires most tax-exempt charitable organisations to submit an annual return (Check the IRS website for a list of exceptions).

An organization’s yearly gross receipts dictate which form should be utilised to submit the annual federal return.

The IRS defines ‘gross receipt’ as “the total sums the organisation received from all sources throughout its yearly accounting period, before deducting any expenditures or expenses.”

For gross revenues of $50,000 or more, file Form 990-N.
$200,000 in gross income and $500,000 in total assets —- File 990-EZ
If your gross revenues exceed $200,000 or your total assets exceed $500,000, you must file a 990 form.

If you have any concerns, please contact the IRS at

(800) 829-3676 (Questions about forms) (800) 829-1040 (general information)

When is the Form 990 due?
A: Form 990 is due on the 15th day of the 5th month after the end of the organization’s fiscal year.

For example, if the fiscal year closes on December 31st, the form 990 is due on May 15th.

NOTE: If an organisation fails to complete Form 990 for three years in a row, it will lose its tax-exempt status.

B. Unrelated Business Profits

If an organisation earns more than $1,000 from a trade or company that is unrelated to the organization’s declared purpose, it must submit Form 990-T to pay taxes on that revenue.

If your organisation anticipates to pay $500 or more in unrelated business income taxes for the year, you must pay a quarterly estimated tax on the unrelated business income using Form 990-W.

3. Keep a Registered Agent.

Any incorporated nonprofit must have a registered agent with a Maine office address. If you change your registered agent or their office address, you must submit a State of Appointment or Change form with the Secretary of State so that your Articles of Incorporation may be changed. Use Form MNPCA-3-CRA if you have a business registered agent. Use Form MNPCA-3-NCRA if you have a noncommercial agency.

Your company may be terminated if you fail to inform the Secretary of State of this change.

4. Submit Periodic Reports

Nonprofits in Maine are required to file an annual report to the Maine Secretary of State by June 1. You have the option of completing your yearly report online.

Failure to submit the required reports may result in the termination of your company.

5. Obtain Permits and Licenses

Depending on the nature of your organisation and the activities you want to conduct, you may require the following licences and/or permissions to function legally:

General Business Licenses are handled by the city/county. Find the contact information for your local government to learn more.
Professional License – A professional licence may be necessary depending on the purpose of your organisation. Check out resources by occupation for additional information.
A gaming licence is essential if your organisation will be holding charity gambling (raffles, bingo, etc.).

6. Registration of Charities

Typically, charitable Maine NGOs must register with the Maine Professional & Financial Regulation department. The application and renewal forms are available on their website. On their website, you may download a paper copy of the application form or the needed Annual Fundraising Activity Report.

7. Workers

If your organisation will have workers of any type, you must register with both the Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor.

Online registration with the Department of Health and Human Services is available. You may also find contact information for your local workforce commission.

Register for an unemployment tax account with the Department of Labor online.

8. Obey Public Inspection Rules

To comply with federal requirements governing 501(c)(3) organisations, you must make the following papers available to any member of the public who wants them:

Annual returns for your organisation may be filed up to three years after the due date (including the following Forms: 990-PF, 990-EZ, 990-T, and 990)
Any supporting documentation and attachments for the 990 forms listed above. For Schedule B, however, you simply need to indicate the kind of the gift and the amount given.
Official IRS documentation demonstrating that your group is tax-exempt.
Your organization’s exemption application and any supporting documentation filed with it (including Form 1023).

Your company is NOT required to share the following papers or information with the general public:

Any part of Schedule B of Form 990/990-EZ that names donors.
Anything deemed an adverse judgement, including past rejections of tax-exempt status.
Any extra information that the IRS is entitled to withhold, such as trade secrets, patents, and so forth.

Legal Help CTA