A 2022 New York State law now requires that the New York form that charities must file, Form CHAR500, be submitted only online at the Charity Bureau website. It may no longer be filed by mail as in the past. The form must be filed by the organization directly at that website – it cannot be e-filed by LMC using our tax preparation software. This will change filing procedures for our clients with New York charities.
Tax exempt charities file a Federal Form 990 series return – Form 990 for public charities, Form 990-PF for Private Foundations, or Form 990-N (the “e-postcard”) for certain small charities. If the organization operates in New York State, it must also register with the Charites Bureau (a section within the Attorney General’s office) and file New York State Form CHAR500 (regardless of which federal form is filed).
Form CHAR500 itself contains no financial information or detailed questions and requires that a copy of the related federal Form 990 series return (containing that information) be attached. The state form itself contains only limited general information such as name and address, federal and New York ID numbers, and the name and title of the officers signing the form. A small fee, the amount of which depends on the circumstance of the organization, is submitted with Form CHAR500.
New Online Requirement
In prior years Form CHAR500 could either be filed as a paper form by mail, or (since 2019) online at the Charity Bureau. Because our software produces the paper form, but the online form may only be filed at the Charity Bureau website, our clients generally filed the paper Form CHAR500 by mail.
A 2022 change in New York law requires all Forms CHAR500 filed after September 19, 2022, be submitted only online at the Charity Bureau’s portal. In informal guidance, the Charity Bureau indicated to us that they will still accept paper returns for 2021 and prior years, even after that date, but 2022 returns must now be filed online as indicated by the 2022 state form instructions. A paper Form CHAR500 no longer exists for 2022.
The New Filing Procedures
Although the federal Form 990 series return will still be e-filed through our in-house tax preparation software, tax-exempt clients in New York must now register and log into the Charity Bureau’s online Portal to file Form CHAR500 themselves. We will provide all the information that needs to be entered (which, as noted above, is limited) along with instructions indicating where to file.
Form CHAR500 also requires certain attachments be submitted. These are attached as PDF files during the online filing process and may include these copies:
- For all Forms CHAR500, the federal 990-series return,
- For private foundations, a published legal notice (we help you order this), and
- For some categories of filers above certain revenues, a reviewed or audited financial statement.
- We will provide you with PDF copies of all required attachments.
If you have any questions regarding filing New York Form CHAR500 online, please reach out to your LMC professional.
Written by Jeffrey Gold, CPA
Subscribe to LMC’s the Bottom Line monthly e-newsletter: