If your organization is tax-exempt, you may be subject to annually filing a License to Solicit with the State of Michigan. Michigan law requires organizations to register with the Department of Attorney General if they solicit and receive charitable contributions in Michigan. Most charities that solicit contributions in Michigan are required to file one.
Keep in mind, soliciting can be in the form of mail, telephone calls, special events, newspapers, television, the internet, or just receiving contributions without doing much of anything.
The following are organizations that are exempt from the charitable solicitation registration requirements:
- Organizations that received less than $25,000 in 12 months and pay no individuals for fundraising services of any kind
- Solicitations that are exclusively for the benefit of a named individual, so long as the individual is specified in the solicitation and no one is compensated for fundraising services
- Churches and religious organizations
- Governmental entities
- Michigan educational institutions
- Veterans’ organizations that are chartered by the U. S. Congress
- Licensed Michigan hospitals and their foundations and auxiliaries
- Private foundations that receive contributions only from the members, directors, incorporators, or members of the families of those individuals
- Organizations that are licensed by the Michigan Department of Human Services to serve children and families, such as day care facilities
- Organizations whose sole source of funding is another charitable organization that is registered to solicit, so long as its registration is current
If your organization does not fall under one of these exemptions, then a solicitation form is required. If the organization has never registered before, then an Initial Solicitation Form, with attachments, must be filed. There is no fee to register. For faster processing, the Charitable Trust Section accepts registrations by email or e-filing. If your organization has already filed an initial form, then an annual Renewal Solicitation Form should be filed.
The License to Solicit with the State of Michigan expires seven months after the end of the fiscal year, and the form is due 30 days before that expiration. Therefore, if your organization has a calendar year-end, that means the renewal is due July 1, and the previous license expires July 31. The organization may request an extension for filing if they do not feel they can meet the required deadline. There is no official form for the extension, so a simple letter can be submitted to the State requesting an extension.
Keep in mind that the financial information included in the form will also determine if you are required to have audited or reviewed financial statements. If contributions, plus net fundraising and gaming activity, less governmental grants, is between $275,000 and $525,000, then reviewed financial statements are required. If over $525,000, then audited financial statements are required.
If you are uncertain of your organization’s current license status or expiration date, visit the charities section of the State of the Michigan website and look up any registered charity.