The well-meaning have been advising exempt organizations to operate like a business for years. If the organization is a Section 501(c)(3) organization, operating too much like a business can cost it its tax-exempt status due to the Commerciality Doctrine. Practically, the issue of commerciality usually arises when a tax-exempt organization engages in any endeavor for which a clear for-profit counterpart exists in the marketplace. Typical examples include publishing, consulting and sales of arts and crafts. Today, the Commerciality Doctrine is a threat to the increasingly popular movement toward social enterprises. Those that choose to organize as Section 501(c)(3) organizations should only do so after a thorough review of the Commerciality Doctrine.
How to Keep your Non-Profit Compliant in All 50 States
Most states require you to register your organization if you solicit donations from their residents. Many states also require registration if your organization collects substantial or ongoing donations from their residents, even if you aren’t specifically targeting donors in that state. Download our comprehensive list of each state’s requirements.