New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced the launch of an easy-to-use online filing portal for charities to file required state annual financial disclosures. The new system will use e-signatures and electronic payments to speed up annual filings for thousands of charities required to register with the New York State Office of the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau.
Charities formed or operating in New York are required to make annual financial disclosures to the Attorney General’s Office. These disclosures are generally made on Form CHAR500. From time to time, charities may also need to register changes (such as changes in name or contact information), file for annual exemptions from New York taxes, and pay required fees.
While the Attorney General’s Office has previously permitted organizations to make filings and registrations online, changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic have put additional pressure on non-electronic-filing methods. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has announced goals of minimizing the Charities Bureau’s response time and cutting down on errors in filings.
Accordingly, at the end of October, James announced the launch of a new, easy-to-use online filing system for New York charities’ annual filings. The purposes of the streamlined application include eliminating guesswork by filers, minimizing Charities Bureau response times, and reducing errors and incomplete filings. James made the following statement in a press release regarding the new system: “This online portal will help us release information more quickly, protect donors, and hold bad actors accountable when they commit fraud. My office is committed to openness and accountability, and this is just the latest step we’re taking to make the reporting process more transparent to all New Yorkers.”
The new online filing system can be found at the Charities Bureau’s website, under “Annual Filing.” The new system may be used for filings for fiscal years that began in 2019 or later. (Filings for earlier fiscal years must be made on Form990.org.) Before beginning an annual filing, the new system allows charities to complete the Charities Annual Filing Checklist, which covers all the information and documents that will be needed to complete the filing. The Charities Bureau recommends completing this checklist before initiating a filing on the new portal. Once initiated, the online filing system uses e-signatures and electronic payments to allow filers to complete their filings in one sitting.
The Attorney General’s Office encourages organizations with a November 15 filing deadline to use online filings to fulfil their annual filing requirement for faster and more efficient processing.
E-filers will need the following documents and information to complete their annual filings on the new system (see also the Charities Annual Filing Checklist):
An annual e-filing allows organizations to easily:
Questions can be directed to the Charities Bureau’s customer service support for e-filing.
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