State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > Georgia > Title-43 > Chapter-17 > 43-17-5

O.C.G.A. 43-17-5 (2010)
43-17-5. Registration of charitable organizations; service of process; financial statement; tax exemption determination; denial; renewal; amendments; fees; records


(a) It shall be unlawful for any person:

(1) Wherever located to solicit or accept charitable contributions from any person located in this state;

(2) While in this state to solicit or accept charitable contributions from any person, wherever located; or

(3) Wherever located to solicit or accept charitable contributions from any person, wherever located, on behalf of a charitable organization located in this state,

unless the charitable organization on whose behalf such contributions are being solicited or accepted is subject to an effective registration statement under this chapter or exempt from registration pursuant to Code Section 43-17-9.

(b) (1) Every charitable organization, except those exempt from registration pursuant to Code Section 43-17-9, which intends to solicit in this state or have contributions solicited in this state on its behalf by other charitable organizations, commercial coventurers, or paid solicitors shall, prior to any solicitation, file a registration statement with the Secretary of State upon a form prescribed by the Secretary of State. No charitable organization required to be registered under this Code section shall solicit prior to registration.

(2) A registration statement, which the Secretary of State may require to be in whole or in part an electronic filing, shall be signed by an authorized executive officer of the charitable organization and shall contain the following information:

(A) The name under which the charitable organization intends to solicit contributions;

(B) The names and addresses of officers, directors, trustees, and executive personnel and, in the case of a state-wide parent organization, the communities in which the chapters, branches, or affiliates are located and their directors;

(C) The names and addresses of any fundraising counsel or paid solicitor who acts or will act on behalf of the charitable organization, together with a statement setting forth the terms of the arrangements for salaries, bonuses, commissions, or other remuneration to be paid to the fundraising counsel or paid solicitor;

(D) The general purposes for which the charitable organization is organized;

(E) The purposes for which the contributions to be solicited will be used;

(F) The period of time during which the solicitation will be made;

(G) The method of solicitation; and

(H) Such other information as the Secretary of State may require.

(3) There shall be filed with such application an irrevocable written consent of the applicant to the service of process upon the Secretary of State in actions against such applicant in the manner and form provided in Code Section 43-17-18.

(4) There shall be filed with such application a financial statement of the charitable organization or a consolidated financial statement of the charitable organization and its subsidiaries as of a date within one year prior to the filing of the registration statement. If the charitable organization has received or collected more than $1 million during its preceding fiscal year, the financial statement shall be prepared by an independent certified public accountant and shall be a certified financial statement of the charitable organization or a certified consolidated financial statement of the charitable organization and its subsidiaries prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles as of a date within one year prior to the date of filing unless the last fiscal year of the charitable organization has ended within 90 days prior to the date of filing, in which case such certified financial statement may be as of the end of the fiscal year preceding such last fiscal year. If the charitable organization has received or collected more than $500,000.00 but not more than $1 million during its preceding fiscal year, the financial statement shall be reviewed by an independent certified public accountant and such certified public accountant's review report, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles as of a date within one year prior to the date of filing, shall be filed with the financial statement. If the charitable organization has received or collected any charitable contributions during its preceding fiscal year, the financial statement shall have attached thereto a copy of the Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, or the Form 990EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, which the organization filed for the previous taxable year pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code. In the event a charitable organization did not file a Form 990 or 990EZ, such charitable organization shall be required to file, with such financial statement, such form as may be prescribed by rule and regulation of the Secretary of State which requires information substantially similar to that required to be provided on Form 990 or 990EZ.

(5) Every charitable organization registered with the Secretary of State shall file with the Secretary of State copies of any federal or state tax exemption determination letters received after the initial registration within 30 days after receipt and shall file any amendments to its organizational instrument within 30 days after adoption.

(6) The Secretary of State may waive or extend the time period for the furnishing of any information required by this subsection and may require such additional information as to the previous history, records, or association of the applicant, general partners, limited partners, directors, affiliates, or executive officers or members in the case of a limited liability company as he or she may deem necessary to establish whether or not the applicant should be registered as a charitable organization under this chapter.

(7) When an applicant has fully complied with this subsection, the Secretary of State shall register such applicant as a charitable organization unless he or she shall find that there are grounds for denial as provided in Code Section 43-17-7. When the Secretary of State has registered an applicant as a charitable organization, he or she shall immediately notify the applicant of such registration.

(8) If the Secretary of State finds that there are sufficient grounds to deny the registration of the applicant as provided in Code Section 43-17-7, he or she shall issue an order refusing to register the applicant. The order shall state specifically the grounds for its issuance. A copy of the order shall be mailed to the applicant at its business address and to any paid solicitor who proposes to solicit contributions on behalf of the charitable organization.

(9) Every registration under this Code section shall be valid for a period of 24 months from its date of effectiveness. The registration must be renewed on or before the expiration date by the submission of a renewal application containing the information required in an application for registration, to the extent that such information has not previously been included in an application or renewal application previously filed, by the payment of the proper fee, and by the filing of financial statements covering the periods since the most recent financial statement previously filed. If the charitable organization has received or collected more than $1 million during either of its two preceding fiscal years, the financial statements for the years with such revenue level shall be prepared by an independent certified public accountant and shall be a certified financial statement of the charitable organization or a certified consolidated financial statement of the charitable organization and its subsidiaries. If the charitable organization has received or collected more than $500,000.00 but not more than $1 million during either of its two preceding fiscal years, the financial statements for the years with such revenue level shall be reviewed by an independent certified public accountant and such certified public accountant's review report, prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. If the charitable organization has received or collected any charitable contributions during its preceding two fiscal years, the financial statements shall have attached thereto a copy of the Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, or the Form 990EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, which the organization filed for the previous two taxable years pursuant to the United States Internal Revenue Code. In the event a charitable organization did not file a Form 990 or 990EZ, such charitable organization shall be required to file, with such financial statement, such form as may be prescribed by rule and regulation of the Secretary of State which requires information substantially similar to that required to be provided on Form 990 or 990EZ. Such financial statements shall be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and, if required to be certified, shall be certified by an independent public accountant duly registered and in good standing as such under the laws of the place of his or her residence or principal office.

(10) The registration of a charitable organization shall be amended within 30 days to reflect a change of name, address, principals, state of incorporation, corporate forms (including a merger of two charitable organizations), or other changes which materially affect the business of the charitable organization. Such amendments shall be filed in a manner which the Secretary of State may prescribe by rule or regulation.

(c) The fee for the initial registration of a charitable organization shall be $35.00. The fee for renewal of a charitable organization's registration shall be $20.00.

(d) A charitable organization shall maintain for not less than three years a record of all contributions including, but not limited to, the name and address of each contributor giving $25.00 or more directly or indirectly to the charitable organization, the date and amount of the contribution, and the location and account number of all bank or other financial institution accounts in which the charitable organization has deposited contributions.

(e) All records of charitable organizations which relate to charitable solicitations or charitable contributions are subject to such reasonable periodic, special, or other examinations by representatives of the Secretary of State, within or outside this state, as the Secretary of State deems necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of the public, provided that the Secretary of State shall not disclose this information except to the extent he or she deems reasonably necessary for investigative or law enforcement purposes.

(f) A charitable organization shall maintain for not less than three years at an office located in Georgia or, if it has no office in Georgia, its principal office all records provided to it by any paid solicitor relating to any solicitation campaign. The charitable organization shall notify the Secretary of State of the address of the office at which such records are kept.