Easy Steps To Protect Your North Dakota Nonprofit and Keep Your Nonprofit Compliant

If you are starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in North Dakota, you have come to the right place. After following the easy steps for North Dakota nonprofit formation, follow this guide to help keep your North Dakota nonprofit compliant and protected.

In this guide we cover:

  1. How to Protect Your North Dakota Nonprofit
  2. How to Keep Your North Dakota Nonprofit Compliant

How to Protect Your North Dakota Nonprofit

Get Business Insurance

As with any other business, there may be risks involved in running the nonprofit. Getting insurance for your nonprofit allows you to focus on your passion while minimizing your liability.

Here are some of the common types of insurance you may want to consider for your organization:

  • General Liability Coverage
  • Directors and Officers Coverage
  • Social Service Professional Coverage

Your coverage needs will vary based on your organization and the work you do.

Properly Sign Legal Documents

There will be times when you will be signing a document on behalf of your nonprofit. It is important that these times are easily distinguishable from when you are signing a document as an individual. If a document isn’t properly signed, you might suddenly find yourself personally responsible for something the organization should have been liable for.

To avoid such confusion we recommend you and all the members of your organization follow the following format:

  • The official name of your nonprofit
  • Your signature
  • Your full legal name
  • Your position in the organization

How to Keep Your North Dakota Nonprofit Compliant

Maintain A North Dakota Registered Agent

Nonprofits that have incorporated are required to maintain a registered agent with an office address in North Dakota.

If the agent or the office address changes, you must file online with the Secretary of State to effect a change to the Articles of Incorporation.

For more information, you can call the Business Services Division at (800) 352-0867 or visit their office at the address found below:

Business Division
Secretary of State
600 E. Boulevard Ave, Dept. 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500

File Required Periodic Reports

The secretary of state requires all nonprofits to submit an annual report by February 1st of each year after your Articles of Incorporation became effective.

Your organization’s registered agent will be notified when the form is available.

For more information, you can call the Business Services Division at (800) 352-0867 or visit their office at the address found below:

Business Division
Secretary of State
600 E. Boulevard Ave, Dept. 108
Bismarck ND 58505-0500

Determine North Dakota Business Permits and Licenses

As a nonprofit in the state of North Dakota, your organization will not need a general business license.

Check with your local county/city clerk’s office to determine if you will need to obtain any kind of local license for your activities.

If you will be conducting charitable gaming activities (bingo, raffles, etc.), you must apply for a State Gaming License through the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office.

Fundraising

If your nonprofit will be soliciting for donations your organization must register online as a Charitable Organization with the North Dakota Secretary of State. The filing fee is $25.

For more information, you can call the Secretary of State at (800) 352-0867, visit them at their website, or visit their office at the address found below:

Business Division
Secretary of State, State of North Dakota
600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 108
Bismarck, ND 58505-0500

Employees

If your organization will have employees you must do the following:

  1. Register with the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner
  2. Register with Job Service North Dakota

State Tax Commissioner

You can register for an employer withholding account with the Office of State Tax Commissioner online or by mail. This form can be mailed to the address found below:

North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner
Business Registration
600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 127
Bismarck, ND 58505-0599

For more information, you can call the State Tax Commissioner at (701) 328-1241 or visit them at their website.

Register with Job Service North Dakota

You can register with Job Service for an unemployment insurance tax account online or by mail. Paper forms can be mailed to the address found below:

Job Service North Dakota
UI Tax and Field Service
P.O. Box 5507
Bismarck, ND 58506-5507

For more information, you can call Job Service at (701) 328-2814 or visit them at their website.

Public Inspection Rules for all 501(c)(3) Organizations

All organizations that have been granted the 501(c)(3) status are required to disclose the following documents to the public when requested:

  • Annual returns for 3 years after the due date (this includes returns like Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-PF, and any Forms 990-T)
  • All Form 990 Schedules (except portions of Schedule B), attachments and supporting documents.
  • Application of exemption and all supporting documents such as Form 1023
  • The official paperwork from the IRS that shows that your organization has tax-exempt status.

The following do NOT need to be shared with the public

  • Portions of schedule B of Form 990/990-EZ that identify the contributors. (You only need to disclose the amount contributed and the nature of the contributions)
  • Any unfavorable rulings such as an earlier denial of tax-exempt status.
  • Any information the IRS has said you can withhold. This may include things like sensitive patents and trade secrets.

FAQ:

How long do I have to produce these documents if requested?

Ideally within the same day. If your organization doesn’t have an office or maintains limited hours during parts of the year, the information should be made available within two weeks.

Do I need to provide copies of the documents?

If someone asks for copies in person or in writing you must provide them with copies.

Can I charge for copies?

You can charge a reasonable amount for making copies of the documents requested.

NOTE: It may be easiest to have the documents available on your website so that anyone who requests copies can be sent to the site. This allows you to stay compliant without having to spend a lot of time dealing with document requests.

Annual Returns for Tax-Exempt Organizations

Most tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are required to file an annual return with the IRS (Check the list of exceptions).

Which form you should use to file the annual returns depends on the annual gross receipt amounts for your organization.

"Gross receipt" is defined by the IRS as “the total amounts the organization received from all sources during its annual accounting period, without subtracting any costs or expenses”

  • For gross receipts ≤$50,000 --- File 990-N
  • Gross receipts <$200,000 and total assets <$500,000 --- File 990- EZ
  • Gross receipts >$200,000 or Total assets >$500,000 --- File 990

For any questions, you can call the IRS at

  • (800) 829-3676 (Form-related questions)
  • (800) 829-1040 (General information)

When is form 990 due?

You have a little over 4 months after your taxable year comes to an end to file Form 990. It is due on the 15th day of the 5th month. So if your taxable year ends on Dec 31st, your form 990 is due on May 15th.

NOTE: If your organization fails to file form 990 for 3 consecutive years, it will automatically lose its tax-exempt status.

Report Unrelated Business Income

If your North Dakota organization has a gross income of ≥$1000 from a trade or business that is not related to the stated purpose of the organization, then it must file Form 990-T to pay tax on that income.

If you expect to pay $500 or more for the year in taxes on unrelated business income, your organization must pay a quarterly estimated tax on the unrelated business income using Form 990-W.

State of North Dakota Nonprofit Quicklinks