If you’re a nonprofit in Missouri, or you’re a nonprofit considering fundraising or other activities in Missouri, you must understand the requirements that Missouri has established for nonprofits operating in the state.
How can you become familiar with these laws? Where should you start?
Start here. This state profile includes the basic requirements nonprofits must consider. Reading the profile and implementing appropriate compliance measures will help you prepare your organization for success in Missouri.
This state generally requires organizations to register prior to soliciting for donations. However, the registration requirement has a broad exemption for organizations that are tax-exempt under 26 USC 501(c)(3) and a narrow religious exemption. (See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.456(2).) There is no form necessary to receive either of these exemptions, but, as a best practice, many organizations choose to submit a letter notifying the attorney general of the organization's exemption and, sometimes, requesting a confirmation of exemption. Questions regarding professional fundraising registration can be directed to email@example.com.
This state has a broad definition of what constitutes solicitation and does not specify what minimum activity level triggers registration requirements. The statute does helpfully clarify that receiving unsolicited contributions from Missouri residents or entities does not constitute solicitation, unless the contributions are received as part of a fundraising campaign. (See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 407.453(6)(b).)
In this state, organizations which are required to register have the option of registering through the Unified Registration Statement, which is a standardized charitable registration accepted in many states.
If you are fundraising in this state, you must consider completing a foreign not for profit registration and designating a registered agent in state. More information about this is included below. See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 355.761.
This state does not require organizations to post specific language when conducting charitable solicitations unless the organization is working with a professional fundraiser.
If you are fundraising or conducting activities in this state, you must consider whether you need to register as a foreign nonprofit corporation. The state law requires entities that are “transacting business” to register. An attorney can help you decide whether you need to register based on the type and volume of activities you have in this state.
In this state, organizations which have received federal income tax exemption under IRC § 501(c)(3) are automatically exempt from state income tax. Some organizations may choose to send a copy of their IRS determination letter to the state department of revenue to indicate the organization’s position that it qualifies for the exemption. Note that, although an organization may be exempt, if it has unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”) that is subject to federal taxation, that UBTI may be subject to state income tax. (Mo. Rev. Stat. § 143.441(2)(1))
In Missouri, almost all business entities, even out-of-state business entities, must pay an annual franchise tax. However, entities operated exclusively for religious purposes (such as a faith-based nonprofit) are exempt from this tax. See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 147.01(2). Some organizations may choose to send a copy of their IRS determination letter to the Missouri Department of Revenue to indicate the organization’s position that it qualifies for the exemption.
It is also important to consider whether your organization might be eligible for sales and use tax or property tax exemption. In this state, federal § 501(c)(3) status does not automatically provide an exemption from sales, use and property taxes. More information about the sales and use tax exemptions and applications is available on the Missouri Department of Revenue website and in Missouri code of state regulations. An accountant or attorney can provide answers to specific questions regarding your organization’s eligibility for exemption.
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 143.071; also Mo. Rev. Stat. § 147.010 (franchise tax)
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