The following guidelines provide background information on the most common types of filings and the related exemptions in Ohio.
In this state, organizations are generally required to register prior to soliciting for donations. However, the registration requirement has a religious exemption. Religious organizations must request an exemption; the religious organization exemption is not automatic. Organization can request an exemption by contacting the Charitable Law Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s office at this link.
This state has both a Charitable Trust Act (Ohio Rev. Code §§ 109.23 – 109.33), which applies to organizations holding charitable assets in the state, and a Charitable Organizations Act (Ohio Rev. Code Ch. 1716), which applies to organizations soliciting contributions from residents in the state. In this state, organizations can file to request exemption from registration if the organization (1) receives fewer than
$25,000 dollars annually (“excluding grants or awards from the government or an organization that is exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(a) and described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code”), and (2) does not use a professional solicitor. The statute does not specify whether the $25,000 maximum is based on total revenue in Ohio or total revenue regardless of source.
Organizations that are required to register do not have the option of registering through the Unified Registration Statement, which is a standardized charitable registration accepted in many states (“URS”). Rather, organizations in Ohio must use Ohio’s online charitable registration system, available at: https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/charitableregistration.
Some states require organizations to appoint a “registered agent” in the state as part of the organization’s charitable registration. Although appointing a “registered agent” is not required with respect to charitable registration, any entity registered with the Ohio Secretary of State is required to continuously maintain a “statutory agent” whose address is located in Ohio. Ohio Rev. Code §§ 1701.07; 1702.06; 1703.24; see below discussion on “Business Registration” for more details regarding when an out-of-state organization might register with the Secretary of State.
Under Ohio Rev. Code § 1716.10, this state requires organizations to include specific statements whenever the organization is requesting donations (also called “charitable solicitation”). Below is sample language to use with charitable solicitations in this state:
This request is made on behalf of *ORG*, located in *PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS*. *ORG* is exempt from federal income tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
Depending on the type and volume of activities an organization has in this state, the organization may also need to register as an out-of-state business (sometimes called a “foreign business”) with the secretary of state or another state agency. These foreign business registration requirements are separate from the charitable registration. Not every out-of-state organization needs to register. An attorney can assist the organization in determining whether its connections with this state are significant enough to trigger the foreign business registration requirement. Examples of activities that might trigger this requirement include having employees physically located in the state, conducting programs in the state, and having an office in the state. For more information, see Ohio Rev. Code Ch. 1703.
Generally, nonprofit corporations are not subject to the Ohio Commercial Activity Tax. However, a nonprofit corporation may have to pay Ohio sales and use taxes on sales and purchases, except in certain circumstances, and a nonprofit corporation that makes sales may have to obtain a vendor’s license in Ohio. An accountant or attorney can provide specific guidance on matters related to state and local taxation and exemptions.
not applicable after 2014 - Ohio Rev. Code § 5733.01; see Ohio Commercial Activity Tax - Ohio Rev. Code § 5751.01(E)(8)
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