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

8 Ways to Keep Your Nonprofit Legal

In order to keep a 501(c)(3) nonprofit company in Ohio, 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.

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1. Apply for a state tax exemption.

A. Exemption from State Income Tax

Your organisation will be exempt from the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax after you get your 501(c) decision letter from the IRS.

B. Exemption from State Sales Tax

Nonprofits in Ohio are often free from state sales tax as well. Examine the instructions provided by the Department of Taxation and, if eligible, show your STEC-B certificate to suppliers.

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 (Form-related inquiries) (800) 829-1040 (general inquiries)q FAQ

Q: When is the 990 form 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 an office location in Ohio. If your registered agent or office address changes, you must submit Form 521 with the Secretary of State to revise your Articles of Incorporation.

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

4. Submit Periodic Reports

Nonprofits in Ohio must file Form 522, a Statement of Continued Existence, every five years, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.

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

5. Obtain Permits and Licenses

The majority of organisations in Ohio will not need a regular business licence. However, depending on the type of your business, you may be required to seek a licence or permission. On the Ohio Business Gateway, you may learn more about licences and permits.

Furthermore, if you want to hold charity games of any type (raffles, games of chance, bingo, etc.), you may be required to get a gaming licence or, at the very least, follow rigorous guidelines outlined by the Ohio Attorney General:

A licence is necessary for bingo.
Gambling – see Ohio Code 2915
Raffles are prohibited under Ohio Code 2915.

6. Registration of Charities

Unless they acquire an exception, charitable Ohio organisations must register with the Ohio Attorney General through their website. Every year, charitable organisations will be obliged to file an annual report.

7. Employees

All Ohio charities must disclose new employee information to the Ohio New Employee Reporting Center.

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and/or the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will also require most organisations to register.

On their website, you may find a list of Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation offices.

Call (614) 466-2319 to talk with someone from the Department of Job and Family Services.

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.
Recommended: Post labour law posters at your workplace to educate your workers about their rights and to ensure compliance.


Q: Can I charge the general public for copies?
A: Yes, you may request a fair fee to get copies of required papers.

Q: How much time do we have to deliver the papers if they are requested?
A: It is advisable to complete these paperwork on the same day. However, if your organisation has restricted office hours owing to the time of year, or if you don’t have a physical office at all, the documentation should be produced within 14 days.

Q: Do I have to provide physical copies of the needed documents?
A: If a member of the public requests copies of papers, whether in writing or in person, you must provide them.

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