Easy Steps To Protect Your Kentucky Nonprofit and Keep Your Nonprofit Compliant

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

In this guide we cover:

  1. How to Protect Your Kentucky Nonprofit
  2. How to Keep Your Kentucky Nonprofit Compliant
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How to Protect Your Kentucky 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 Kentucky Nonprofit Compliant

Determine Kentucky Business Permits and Licenses

Business licenses in the state of Kentucky are regulated by individual counties and cities. Contact your local authorities to find the requirements for your organization in your area.

You can also use the Small Business Administration’s Business License & Permit Lookup Tool and Kentucky’s Licenses and Permits Search to make sure you have all the right paperwork in place.


Most nonprofits in Kentucky that will be collecting donations for a cause will need to register as a charity with the Kentucky Attorney General. The exceptions are religious organizations, educational institutions, and PTA groups.

To register you will need to send to the Attorney General

  • Copy of the IRS determination letter
  • Copy of bylaws and articles of incorporation
  • Copy of most recent Form 990

Office of the Attorney General
1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 200
Frankfort, KY 40601
Attn: Charity Registration

Phone: (502) 696-5300

Website: https://ag.ky.gov/

You can learn more about registering with the Kentucky Attorney General on their website.

If your nonprofit is not a 501(c) exempt organization then you will also need to complete and file a Unified Registration Statement (URS).

If your nonprofit will be holding bingos, raffles, or other charitable games then your organization must first register with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet - Department of Charitable Gaming using form CG-1.

All Kentucky nonprofit corporations must file an annual report each year with the Kentucky Secretary of State so the information on file about your organization is kept up to date. You can file online or by mail, due between January 1st and June 30th of each year.

There is a filing fee of $15.00

Secretary of State
Filings Branch
700 Capital Ave.
P.O. Box 718
Frankfort, KY 40602-0718

Information: (502) 564-3490

Website: www.sos.ky.gov


If your organization will have employees you must register with the Kentucky Department of Taxation and the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training.

You can register with the Kentucky Department of Taxation online for an employer withholding account or contact them at:

Kentucky Department of Revenue
P.O. Box 299, Station 20
Frankfort, KY 40602-0299

Information: (502) 564-3306

Fax: (502) 227-0772

Website: http://revenue.ky.gov/Business/Pages/Employer-Payroll-Withholding.aspx

You can refer to the Kentucky Instructions for Employers for additional information.

To register with the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training you must contact them for form UI-1s at:

Kentucky Office of Employment & Training
275 East Main Street 2nd Floor
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Information: (502) 564-2272

Website: https://kcc.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx

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.


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 Kentucky 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.