All local League of Women Voters organizations, including separate local League Education Funds and Inter League Organizations, whether incorporated or unincorporated, must comply with a variety of government filing requirements. Failure to follow these reporting requirements could jeopardize a local League’s corporate or tax exempt status, and subject the League or its officers and directors to income tax and other penalties.
Generally, these filings have to be done annually, so it is important that your board of directors be aware of these requirements. Be sure that someone—most likely your treasurer—is responsible for keeping your League in compliance. The following table is a summary of the reporting requirements, which are then discussed in more detail.
|IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ or 990-N (e-Postcard)||Annually -- by 15th day of 5th month after tax/fiscal year end|
|Change of name, address or year end||Whenever changes occur|
|FTB Forms 199 or 199-N (e-Postcard)||Annually – by 15th day of 5th month after tax/fiscal year end|
|Change of name, address, or tax year||Whenever changes occur|
|CA SECRETARY OF STATE|
|Statement of Information (Form SI-100)||Every 2 years in the month the original articles of incorporation were filed, or up to 5 months prior|
|CA Registry of Charitable Trusts / Attorney General|
|Registration Renewal Form (Form RRF-1)||Annually – by 15th day of 5th month after fiscal year end|
|Raffles for fund raising purposes - Permits||Annually – Year is September 1 to August 31|
|Raffles – results||Report all raffles for the year, form CT-NRP-2 to report the results (Due no later than October 1)|
|STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION|
|Sale of taxable items: permit & remittance of sales and use tax due||Periodic reporting requirements and estimated tax deposits established when initial permit obtained|
Introduction: §501(c)(4) and §501(c)(3) Local League Organizations
Historically, all local League organizations have been qualified as tax exempt under IRC§501(c)(4). Many local League organizations have applied to the IRS to change their qualification to §501(c)(3) and to concurrently make an election under §501(h) using Form 5768.
The government filing requirements discussed below are exactly the same whether a local League organization is qualified under either §501(c)(3) or (4), except that the former group which have also made the §501(h) election have to complete an additional schedule or form for the IRS and the FTB.
Federal (IRS) Filing Requirements
Returns For Fiscal Years Beginning in CY2020, to be Filed in CY2021.
Form 990-N e-Postcard. Local League organizations whose gross receipts are “normally” $50,000 or less are required to electronically submit Form 990-N, known as the “e-Postcard.” An organization's gross receipts are considered to be normally $50,000 or less if the organization is at least three years old and averaged $50,000 or less in gross receipts for the last three tax years (including the current year). (Different rules apply if an organization has been in existence less than three years.) Thus, a League may be able to file this form even in years when its actual gross receipts are greater than $50,000.
Like the other Federal returns discussed below, the e-Postcard must be filed after the end of the tax year, but no later than the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of that year. It is necessary to go on the Internet in order to file the e-Postcard— The information needed for the return is the following:
- Employer (or Taxpayer) identification number (EIN, aka TIN).
- Tax year
- Legal name and mailing address, plus any other names the organization uses
- Name and address of a principal officer (the address may be the same as the League’s address)
- Web site address if the organization has one
- Confirmation that the organization's annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less
- If applicable, a statement that the organization has terminated or is terminating
After the filing of the e-Postcard, the League will receive an email from the filing system indicating whether its e-Postcard was accepted or rejected by the IRS. If rejected, the email will advise whom to contact to help resolve the problem. In addition, when the e-Postcard is submitted to the IRS you can view the "Check Filing Status" page where you can view and print an image of the e-Postcard for your records.
It is not possible to file an amended e-Postcard. Corrections or updates to your information can only be made when the next e-Postcard is filed in a subsequent year.
Late Filing or Failure to File the e-Postcard. If a League does not file its e-Postcard on time, the IRS will send a reminder notice but no penalty is assessed for late filing. You cannot file a delinquent e-Postcard after the end of the subsequent tax year. Rather, it is necessary to call the IRS Exempt Organization help line at (877) 829-5500 to resolve the matter.
Forms 990 and 990-EZ. Any tax exempt organization otherwise qualified to file an e-Postcard can choose instead to file a Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax or Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax. Both of these forms have been increasing in size and complexity in recent years, with the addition of many new questions and new schedules, and it is unlikely that they will become any less complicated in the future. Therefore, local League organizations would generally not want to complete either of these more complicated returns unless required to do so.
Once a local League organization normally has annual gross receipts greater than $50,000, it must file Form 990-EZ (or Form 990) rather than the e-Postcard. The Form 990-EZ is an information return which can be used if the organization's gross receipts during its tax year are less than $200,000 and its total assets at the end of the year are less than $500,000. Once an organization's revenue or assets exceed one of these limits, it is required to file a Form 990. Either form must be filed by the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of the tax (fiscal) year.
It is possible to file for an automatic three-month extension of time for filing the Form 990-EZ or Form 990 using Part I of Form 8868; this form must be filed no later than the original due date of the return, and may be filed electronically. Once having filed this form on a timely basis, an organization can request an additional three-month extension of time by completing and filing Part II of Form 8868 no later than the previously extended due date; this cannot be filed electronically.
There are various supplemental schedules which may have to be filed with the Form 990-EZ (or Form 990), depending on the situation of the filing organization. For further information on such forms, see the IRS Publication 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization and the IRS instructions for the Forms 990 or 990-EZ and the individual schedules.
Change of Name, Address or Tax Year.
If your League organization changes its name, in addition to the approvals required from the LWVC and the LWVUS it is important to notify the IRS. This may also be necessary if for some reason the IRS’ records do not reflect prior name changes. Those filing e-Postcards must write a letter to the IRS detailing their new name, and providing as support a copy of the amendment to the League’s Articles of Incorporation, verified by the California Secretary of State, or its Articles of Association. The letter should be sent to Internal Revenue Service, TE/GE, EO Determinations Office, P.O. Box 2508, Cincinnati, OH 45201, or by fax to (513) 263-4330
League organizations filing e-Postcards should also notify the IRS of a change of address, or the correction of an address in IRS records, by either calling the Exempt Organization help line at (877) 829-5500, or sending a completed Part II of Form 8822-B to the Internal Revenue Service, Ogden, UT 84201-0023.
If your League organization files e-Postcards and changes its tax year, or finds that the IRS has an incorrect tax year in its records, you should write a letter detailing the appropriate information to the Internal Revenue Service, Attn: EO Entity, MS 6273, Ogden, UT 84201.
If a League organization files a Form 990 or Form 990-EZ, any of the foregoing changes can be implemented by providing the appropriate information regarding the change with the next return to be filed.
Failure to File Returns: Loss of Tax Exempt Status.
An organization which fails to file its required e-Postcards or Forms 990 or 990-EZ for three consecutive years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status. In such a case, the revocation of the organization's tax-exempt status will not be effective until the filing due date of the third year. In order to get this tax-exempt status reinstated, it will be necessary for the organization to reapply to the IRS.
California Filing Requirements
Franchise Tax Board (FTB).
Local League organizations whose gross receipts are “normally” $50,000 or less are required to electronically submit Form 199N, also known as the “e-Postcard.” The information requirements for this form are similar to those required by the IRS. The Form 199N has to be filed electronically by the 15th day of the fifth month after the tax year end, the same as the Federal due date. There is no fee due with this filing.
Once a local League organization normally exceeds $50,000 in gross receipts, it must file Form 199, California Exempt Organization Annual Information Return. This is the only tax return form available—there is no simplified version of the form similar to the Federal Form 990-EZ. Again, this form must be filed with the FTB by the 15th day of the 5th month following the tax year end.
The FTB will grant an automatic six-month extension to file Form 199 if both of the following conditions exist:
- Your organization is not in “suspended” status on the original due date
- You file your organization’s return on or before the extended due date
The extension allows an organization more time to file its return, not more time to pay any taxes that may be due
If you have any questions on these return requirements, you may call the FTB Exempt Organization help line at (916) 845-4171. Information on these matters is also available on in the FTB’s Publication 927.
FTB Change of Name, Address or Tax Year. If your League changes its name, in addition to the approvals required from the LWVC and the LWVUS, it is important that you notify the FTB. This is also necessary if for some reason the FTB’s records do not reflect prior name changes.
League organizations which file a Form 199N should write a letter to the FTB detailing the new name, and providing as support a copy of the amendment to the League’s Articles of Incorporation, verified by the California Secretary of State, or to its Articles of Association. It should be sent to the Franchise Tax Board, Exempt Organization Unit, PO Box 1286, Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-1286.
League organizations which file a Form 199N should notify the FTB of a change of address, or the correction of an address in FTB records, by either calling the FTB at (800) 852-5711 or sending a completed Part II of Form 3533 to the Franchise Tax Board, PO Box 942840, Sacramento, CA 94240-0002.
If a League organization files a Form 199, any of the foregoing changes or a change in tax year can be implemented by providing the appropriate information regarding the change with the next return to be filed.
CA Secretary of State (SOS).
If they are incorporated, local League organizations must biennially file Form SI-100, Statement of Information, with the California SOS, together with a filing fee of $20. The form must first be filed within 90 days after a League files its original articles of incorporation. Subsequently, the form must be filed biennially, within the applicable filing period, which is the calendar month during which its original articles were filed and the immediately preceding five calendar months.
This form may be found at here. Filing may also be done online . The SOS’ office will send out a reminder postcard approximately 90 days prior to the month the form is due.
The Secretary of State will be aware of all name changes because the amendment to a corporation’s articles of incorporation making the change must be filed with that office before it can be effective. Changes in other information (e.g., change in officers, change in address) must be reported by filing an amended Form SI-100, but without the fee.
If a local League fails to file its Statement of Information when due, the Secretary of State may classify it as “suspended,” in which case it loses it corporate status until it complies with its filing requirements and is reinstated by the Secretary of State. This is a very serious matter, and should be remedied immediately
Registry of Charitable Trusts/Attorney General.
Annual Report. Local League organizations which are registered with the Registry of Charitable Trusts in the California Attorney General’s Office must file Form RRF-1, Annual Registration Renewal Fee Report, by the 15th day of the 5th month following year end. There is a very modestly escalating annual fee due for organizations with gross annual revenues of $25,000 or more. See Effective 2020: Nonprofits with gross receipts of less than $50,000 in a fiscal year must file the Annual Treasurer's Report (CT-TR-1 Form and Instructions) along with Form RRF-1 when they renew their registration with the Attorney General's office.
League organizations which file Forms 990-EZ (or 990) must also file a copy of this return with the Registry of Charitable Trusts
Generally, if a League organization has not yet registered with the Registry of Charitable Trusts, it should do so as soon as possible, using Form CT-1, Initial Registration Form.
If there is a change in name, address or tax year, you may include in an amended Form RRF-1, or write a letter with the applicable information to the Registry of Charitable Trusts, PO Box 903447, Sacramento, Ca 94203-4470.
Raffles. Leagues which hold raffles for fundraising purposes must annually register for this purpose with the Registry of Charitable Trusts . The Form CT-NRP-1, together with a $20 fee, is due 60 days before the raffle. Subsequent to each raffle, a Form CT-NRP-2 must be filed to report the results of after all raffles are completed or final deadline is October 1. Raffle year is September 1 to August 31.
Sales and Use Tax.
Each League organization which sells merchandise or publications should have a Seller’s Permit and a related resale tax number from the Board of Equalization (BOE), and must collect sales tax then file the State, Local and District Sales and Use Tax Return with the BOE. The due date for these returns is established when an organization obtains a Permit. Click here for forms
League organizations with a resale certificate are not charged tax on publications or merchandise purchased from the LWVC; however, include your resale number on all order forms. Your League organization, as the ultimate seller or user of goods, is responsible for remitting the Sales and Use Tax to the BOE. If a local League uses or gives away publications, and has not paid Sales Tax when they were purchased, it is responsible for reporting and paying the Use Tax with the above noted return (at same rate as the Sales Tax).
If your League has employees, you have additional filing requirements. Check out these resources:
Other Compliance Issues: Public Disclosure
In general, local League organizations must make available for public inspection certain annual returns and applications for exemption, and must provide copies of such returns and applications to individuals who request them. Copies usually must be provided immediately in the case of in- person requests, and within 30 days in the case of written requests. For more information on public disclosure requirements, visit the IRS.