Charities annual filing (CHAR500)
Charities, Nonprofits & Fundraisers
All charitable organizations operating in New York are required by law to register and file annual financial reports with the Office of the New York State Attorney General. This includes any organization that conducts charitable activities, holds property that is used for charitable purposes, or solicits financial or other contributions.
New online filing user?
Charities must file financial disclosures annually with the Charities Bureau.
If you have already submitted an electronic filing with us, you can check your filing status online.
Most organizations that hold property of any kind for charitable purposes or engage in charitable activities in New York or solicit charitable contributions (including grants from foundations and government grants) in New York are required to register with the Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.
Under New York law, charity is defined very broadly to include purposes such as:
- relief of poverty
- cultural programs
- promotion of health and research to cure disease
- many other purposes that benefit the community
Although most charitable organizations are required to register, the law exempts some, including religious organizations, from registering. If you believe that your organization may be exempt from the registration requirements, you will have an opportunity to claim an exemption when you fill out the online registration application.
- employer identification number (EIN)
- certificate of incorporation or other organizing document
- bylaws or other rules document
For a complete list, consult the online checklist detailing what is required to register prior to starting the application.
Please note that the form requires two signatories:
- organization’s president or other authorized officer
- chief financial officer, treasurer, or other person with fiscal responsibility.
- Our registrant will require emails for both of the above so the application can be sent for their review and e-signature.
Among the organizations exempt from registration are religious organizations (houses of worship) and other charitable organizations run by religious organizations, membership organizations that do not solicit from the public, parent-teacher associations, educational institutions that file annual reports with the New York State Department of Education, and governmental agencies.
Often members of a community collect money for a friend or neighbor who is ill or who has suffered a tragedy. Such funds are not charities and are exempt from registration as long as all of the contributions collected are paid to (or for the benefit of) the person for whom the money was collected.
You may designate up to three alternate beneficiaries, in case the person for whom you are collecting cannot use all of the funds collected. If you designated an alternate beneficiary, complete form CHAR017 (Charitable Solicitation for the Relief of an Individual, which is posted on our Forms page. After completing the form, submit it to the Charities Bureau.
Designating alternate beneficiaries will simplify the distribution of excess funds and avoid a possible court proceeding to determine to whom such funds should be distributed. If you file form CHAR017, you must advise potential contributors that the form has been filed with the Attorney General.