The Georgia Charitable Solicitations Act of 1988, as amended, regulates the solicitation and collection of charitable contributions in Georgia. Unless exempted by provisions of this Act, organizations and individuals that solicit contributions from the public for charitable purposes are required to register with the Secretary of State, and to disclose financial information and other facts relating to the organization. See O.C.G.A. §§ 43-17-3, 43-17-5. The Act allows the Secretary of State to take action against those persons and firms who violate its provisions. The following information is a general overview of the Act. Additional information may be obtained by securing a copy of the Act or contacting the Securities and Business Regulation division.
As of July 1, 2008, the Charitable Organization Registration Fee will be $35.00, and the Renewal Fee is $20.00. Registrations will be effective for a period of two years.
Charitable organizations that solicit funds in or from Georgia must register with the Secretary of State unless they are exempt from registration as set forth in the Act under O.C.G.A. § 43-17-9. The initial filing fee of $35.00 should be submitted with the completed Charitable Organization Registration (Form C-100) application. O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(c). Nonprofit incorporation is not a requirement for registration as a charitable organization and is a process separate from charitable registration. Persons desiring to incorporate or register an out-of-state corporation in Georgia should contact the Corporations Division at (404) 656-2817 for information.
The Charitable Organization Registration (Form C-100) is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, which requires the Adobe Acrobat reader for viewing and printing. For more information on Acrobat, or to download a free copy of the Acrobat reader, visit the Adobe web site.
A charitable organization registration is valid for a period of 24 months from its effective date and must be renewed on or before the expiration date each year. A renewal notice is mailed to the charitable organization in the month prior to its expiration date. That notice should be signed and returned with the requested attachments, including financial statements and the renewal fee of $20.00. O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(c). The applicant is responsible for filing their renewal whether or not the notice is received. See O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(b)(9). If additional time is needed to file financial statements, which are a part of the renewal, a written request for an extension must be accompanied by the required renewal fee of $20.00 and the renewal form. This must be received before the expiration date. This request must specify the reason the financial statements cannot be filed and a date when such financial statements will be completed and filed.
If the organization has received or collected any charitable contributions during its preceding fiscal year, an IRS Form 990 or 990 E-Z which the organization filed for the previous two taxable years must be attached to the Charitable Organization Registration (Form C-100) application, and financial statements as indicated below.: O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(b)(4).
a. If the Organization received or collected more than $1,000,000 in either of its two preceding fiscal years, the financial statements for the years with such revenue level shall be prepared by an independent certified public accountant and shall be a certified financial statement of the charitable organization or a certified consolidated financial statement of the charitable organization and its subsidiaries. O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(b)(4).
(b) If the Organization received or collected more than $500,000 but less than $1,000,000 during either of its two preceding fiscal years, the financial statements for the years with such revenue level shall be reviewed by an independent certified public accountant and such certified public accountants review report, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(b)(4).
c. Organizations that received or collected less than $500,000 in either of its two preceding fiscal years, must submit financial statements for such years. The financial statements do not have to be reviewed or certified. O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(b)(4).
d. If no funds have been received or collected, attach a signed statement from an officer of the organization to that effect.
If an organization’s registration expires, the Charitable Organization Registration (Form C-100) application and $35.00 are required to reinstate the registration. The entire application must be filed along with the financial statements required for that filing period. See Georgia Regulation 590-9-3-.03(3).
A charitable organization must keep its registration current with the Secretary of State by amending its registration within 30 days to reflect any change to the initial registration statement. The registration Charitable Organization Registration (Form C-100) is a continuous filing form and is also used for filing amendments. The section of the form to be amended should be circled, updated and filed with the execution page (page 1) manually signed by an authorized agent and notarized. Any documentation of proof of amendment such as corporate name change should be attached. O.C.G.A. § 43-17-5(b)(10).
(a) Maintains a regular faculty and curriculum and has a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance at the place where its educational activities are regularly carried on; or
(b) Is accredited by a nationally recognized, independent higher education accreditation body.
Exemptions [O.C.G.A. § 43-17-9]:
In all cases, the burden of proving entitlement to an exemption falls upon the charitable organization. An organization claiming an exemption from registration as a charitable organization is advised to carefully review the wording of the Act to insure its legal operation. Any exemption from registration does not exempt the charitable organization from the anti-fraud provisions of O.C.G.A. § 43-17-12. See Georgia Regulation 590-9-5-.08.
Organizations exempt from registration under the Act include the following:
EDUCATIONAL: Educational institutions and those organizations, foundations, associations, corporations, charities, and agencies operated, supervised, or controlled by or in connection with a nonprofit educational institution, provided that those organizations are qualified under Section 501 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS: Professional and trade associations that do not solicit members or funds from the general public.
FRATERNAL AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS: Fraternal, civic, benevolent, patriotic and social organizations if solicitations are carried on by persons without any form of compensation and solicitation is confined to their membership.
NAMED INDIVIDUALS: Persons requesting any contributions for the relief of any other individual who is specified by name at the time of the solicitation if all of the contributions collected, without any deductions whatsoever, are turned over to the named beneficiary. If contributions exceed $5,000.00, a written accounting of funds may be required.
$25,000.00 EXEMPTION: Charitable organizations which do not have any agreement with a paid solicitor and whose total revenue from contributions has been less than $25,000.00 for both the immediately preceding and current calendar years.
HUNTERS, FISHERMEN AND TARGET SHOOTERS: Local or state organization of hunters, fishermen and target shooters which has been recognized as a 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) organization.
VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS: Any volunteer fire department or rescue service operating in conjunction with a city or county government in this state and which has received less than $25,000.00 in both the immediately preceding and current calendar years.
POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS: Political parties, political action committees and candidates for federal or state office who file financial information with federal or state election commissions.
LOCAL COMMUNITY AND STATE-WIDE ORGANIZATIONS affiliated with or acting on behalf of a registered or exempt state-wide or national parent organization by contract or agreement need not register separately with the Secretary of State. The single registration of the state-wide or national parent organization shall be considered all inclusive of all of its chapters, branches, or affiliates and individuals, which will be identified by listing the communities in which they are located and their directors.
PUBLIC INSTRUMENTALITY: A public instrumentality of a state or federal government is not required to register with the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State does not provide tax advice to charitable organizations. For information relating to federal tax laws and tax-exempt or nonprofit status, contact the Internal Revenue Service at 1-877-829-5500. Instructions on filing forms 990/990EZ with the Internal Revenue Service can be found at: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i990-ez.pdf. For information concerning state tax exemptions, contact the Georgia Department of Revenue at 404-417-6649.
A charitable organization should contact the applicable city and county governments to determine what, if any, local ordinances apply to its activities.
If the organization wishes to conduct a raffle, the sheriff’s office of the county in which the organization is located must be notified. Information regarding bingo games should be directed to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at 404-244-2561.
Upon solicitation, a charitable organization, paid solicitor or solicitor agent is required to disclose its name and location, and disclose that the following information will be sent upon request:
(a) A full and fair description of the charitable program for which the solicitation campaign is
being carried out and, if different, a full and fair description of the programs and activities of the
charitable organization on whose behalf the solicitation is being carried out; and
(b) A financial statement or summary which shall be consistent with the financial statement required to be filed with the Secretary of State pursuant to Code Section 43-17-5.. O.C.G.A. § 43-17-8.
The above listing includes forms available online, but is not an all-inclusive listing of forms required for registration or renewal. Please refer to O.C.G.A. §§ 43-17-3, 43-17-5, and 43-17-7.
Please note: The Securities Division posts this material for the convenience of its users. This material does not necessarily include all of the information and forms relevant for the filing, registration or renewal of entities or products regulated by the Securities Division. A user of the information and forms provided on this Web page should review applicable Georgia law in order to determine whether the user is in compliance with the various filing, registration or renewal requirements. The information contained in this website does not constitute legal advice. The Secretary of State encourages all interested individuals to consult their own attorneys should they have questions regarding legal interpretations of Georgia statutes or regulations.