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

9 Steps to Keeping Your Nonprofit Legal

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

Apply for a state tax exemption.
Tax-exempt organisations must file annual federal returns.
Publication of a Notice of Incorporation
Keep a Registered Agent on file.
Submit periodic reports
Request permissions and licences
Employees of Charitable Registration Obey Public Inspection Rules

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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 exempt from corporate income taxes in Pennsylvania.

B. Exemption from state sales tax

Fill out form REV-72 Application for Sales Tax Exemption to apply for a sales tax exemption. Every five years, you must renew your 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 (Form related questions)
(800) 829-1040 (general information)

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. Disseminate a Notice of Incorporation

Following the approval of your nonprofit’s Articles of Incorporation, you must publish a notice of incorporation in two general circulation county newspapers (one of which must be a legal newspaper).

4. Keep a Registered Agent.

Any organisation that has incorporated must have a registered agent with a Pennsylvania office location. If your registered agent or office address changes, you must submit Form DSCB:15-1507/5507/8625/8825 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.

5. Submit Periodic Reports

If the corporate executives of a nonprofit organisation change, the Pennsylvania Secretary of State requires them to file an annual report. This yearly statement may be submitted either online or by mail.

If your organisation has not submitted an annual statement in the past ten years, the Secretary of State will ask you to file a Decennial Report.

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

6. Obtain Permits and Licenses

Pennsylvania does not grant general business licences on a state-wide basis. You should, however, check with your county/city clerk to see if there are any local restrictions.

If your nonprofit intends to hold charity gaming (bingo, raffles, etc.), read REV-1750 to verify your organisation is qualified and compliant.

7. Registration of Charities

Nonprofit charitable organisations in Pennsylvania are normally needed to register with the Department of State using form BCO-10. To renew your registration, you must complete this form every year.

Access the Department of State’s Exclusions and Exemptions Chart to see whether your organisation is exempt from registering. If you are qualified, fill out form BCO-9 to obtain an exemption.

To learn more about the regulations for Pennsylvania-based charities, see the Department of State’s Charitable Organizations Guidance and The Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act.


If your organisation intends to hire anybody, you must register with both the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Online registration with the Department of Revenue is simple. You may also find contact information for the Department of Revenue.

You may also register online with the Department of Labor and Industry. You may also get in touch with the Department of Labor and Industry.

9. 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.

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