The following guidelines provide background information on the most common types of filings and the related exemptions in Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, religious organizations are automatically exempt from charitable registration requirements. The religious exemption is not limited to IRS Form 990 non-filers, such as churches. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 552.4.
Some states require charitable organizations to appoint a “registered agent” in the state as part of the organization’s registration. Oklahoma has no such requirement for charitable and religious organizations. See Oklahoma’s charitable registration statute, Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 552.3, and its exemption of organizations incorporated for religious purposes, Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 552.4.
Oklahoma does not require organizations to post specific language when conducting charitable solicitations.
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 corporation") with the Secretary of State. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 1130. Foreign business registration requirements are separate from charitable registration requirements. 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.
In Oklahoma, organizations exempt from federal income tax under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC Sec. 501(c)(3)) are automatically exempt from state income tax. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 68, § 2359(A). An organization may choose to send a copy of its IRS determination letter to the state department of revenue to indicate that it qualifies for the exemption. Note, however, that although an organization may be exempt, if it has unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) that is subject to federal taxation, that UBTI also may be subject to state income tax. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 68, § 2359(B). It is also important to consider whether applying for sales and use tax and property tax exemption would be appropriate for your organization. More information is available in this guide from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. An accountant or attorney can provide answers to specific questions regarding your organization’s eligibility for exemption.
Annual Charitable Organization Reporting Requirement
Generally, charitable organizations in Oklahoma are required to annually register with the Secretary of State by the date that the charitable organization files its Form 990. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 552.3. However, organizations incorporated for religious purposes or engaged in bona fide religious programs are exempt from this requirement. Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 18, § 552.4.
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