Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ > Charitable Registration Exemptions FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions



Are exemptions from charitable reporting requirements permanent?
Changes in the purpose or control of the organization may affect the exempt status, and the organization should request another determination when such changes occur. Additionally, legislative or administrative code changes may also affect the types of groups that qualify for exemptions.

How do I know if my charitable organization might be exempt from any of the filing or registration requirements?
Through the online charitable registration system, organizations can submit a request for a determination from the office about whether it qualifies for an exemption from charitable filing requirements. So that legal staff in the Ohio Attorney General’s office can make a determination on whether an exemption is appropriate, supporting documentation such as bylaws and other information must be uploaded into the system or mailed to the office. The requesting organization will receive an email and a letter granting or refusing the exemption, and that information will be entered into the organization’s file. Failure to provide supporting documentation within one month of the request will result in a rejection of the request. Materials can be mailed to:
Ohio Attorney General’s Office
Charitable Law Section
150 East Gay Street, 23rd Floor
Columbus, OH, 43215
You can also email the materials to or documents can be uploaded into the online charitable registration system when the request is made.

If I am a subsidiary or chapter of a national charitable organization, do I need to register?
A parent organization is one that has been specifically recognized by the IRS and is permitted to file a group tax return on behalf of its chapters, branches, and/or affiliates. If you are a chapter, branch, or affiliate of a parent organization, you should have documentation from the parent organization that confirms that you are in good standing and that your financial reports are included in the federal group return. If you do not have the appropriate documentation or the parent organization is not properly registered with us, then your organization is responsible for filing individual registration documents on behalf of the chapter or division.

If my charitable organization receives an exemption under one of the categories, does that mean that I don’t ever need to file anything with the Ohio Attorney General’s office?
Because there are two different statutory provisions that require charities to register with the Ohio Attorney General’s office, an exemption under one statute doesn’t necessarily mean that filings aren’t required under the other statute. The online charitable registration system tracks what type of exemption is granted, and organizations can check the online to do list for their organization to determine if filings are required. Additionally, if an organization changes its bylaws, articles of incorporation, etc., the exemption may no longer be valid, and the organization may be required to register. The General Assembly could also change the law affecting exemptions.

My charitable organization has assets below $25,000 this year, and normally I wouldn’t mail in materials if my assets are under a certain threshold. What do I do under this new system?
Regardless of the asset levels during any particular year, organizations need to log into the system prior to their filing deadline. The online charitable registration system will ask users basic introductory questions each year, and based on the responses provided, additional information may be requested. For organizations with assets below $25,000, the filing will be completed with only a few brief questions.

What kinds of charitable organizations have to file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office?
In general, Ohio 501(c)(3) organizations and 501(c)(4) health-care organizations must register under the Ohio Charitable Trust Act unless they meet one of eight exemptions. Other organizations that operate for a charitable purpose may also be required to register. Out-of-state entities may be required to register if they have assets in Ohio or a majority of the governing body is in this state. After filing the initial registration with the office, the organization must file an annual financial report. A sliding scale for fees is based on the organization’s assets.
Nonprofits that intend to solicit contributions from Ohioans must register and submit financial reports with the Attorney General’s Office each year under the Charitable Organizations Act. Ohio 501(c)(3) organizations that have been in operation for two or more years are not required to file under the Charitable Organizations Act if they have properly filed under the Charitable Trust Act each year. The fee is based on the amount of contributions received each year.
There are circumstances when Ohio charities might be required to file under both provisions.
The online charitable registration system automatically determines for users what information is required based on the responses provided to questions.

What types of organizations are exempted from the various charitable filing requirements?
The most common exemptions under the Charitable Trust Act are:
  • Churches
  • Schools that maintain regular faculty and curricula and maintain a location where students attend
  • Qualifying charitable remainder trusts or trusts with revocable charitable interests
  • Charitable trusts which are not located in Ohio, are not incorporated in Ohio, have not filed information with the IRS indicating the trust is located in Ohio, do not conduct program services in Ohio, nor have assets in Ohio

Under the Charitable Organizations Act, the most common exemptions include:

  • Churches
  • Educational institutions if the contributions sought are confined to alumni, faculty, trustees, students, and their families
  • Public primary and secondary schools when solicitations are limited to alumni, faculty, or the population of the school district