Skip to main content

Site Navigation

Site Search

mission Matters

What are the Requirements for Filing with the RI Department of Business Regulation?

August 11, 2015

Looking to start a charity or collect donations in Rhode Island? You will need to register with the RI Department of Business Regulation in order to solicit public donations.

Thinking of starting a nonprofit organization in Rhode Island? In order to start your charity in RI, you may need to (among other things) register with the RI Department of Business Regulation Securities Division, Charitable Organization Section (DBR). Registering with the DBR should be completed prior to soliciting donations from the public in RI.

The DBR encourages charitable organizations to comply with state law and make sure to register with the division prior to soliciting in the state. The public can search for registered organizations on the DBR site, which is great way to find out if the organization calling you for a contribution exists and can legally collect contributions. This registration will add another level of transparency and credibility to the organization.

Application for Charitable Organizations

The application for charitable organizations is a two part application that must be completed prior to any solicitations in RI. There are some instructions that you should be aware of, including:

  • If gross income for your organization exceeds $500,000 you must submit an audited financial statement.
  • If gross income is $500,000 or less, you must submit a compiled financial statement prepared by an independent or certified public accountant, or you can submit a copy of your organization’s form 990.
  • There is a registration and annual filing fee of $90.
  • Paper submissions of the application are no longer accepted, you must submit the form online or on CD.
  • The application must be signed by two authorized officials of the organization (one of them being a director or trustee).
  • If your application is complete, you will receive written approval from the DBR and if it is incomplete it will be returned to you.
  • The approval for your application will include a notification stating when your registration will expire. Renewal forms will be sent to you in time for your next filing and the filing will be due within 30 days of the anniversary date of the initial registration. You can also lookup your renewal date on the DBR site.

Is anyone exempt from the application?

There are certain persons and organizations that are not required to file a registration statement with the DBR. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Educational institutions
  • Persons contributing to an individual’s relief (funds will be going directly to that person)
  • Charitable organizations that do not plan to solicit and receive donations from the public and do not receive contributions exceeding $25,000 during a fiscal year.
  • Non-profit and charitable hospitals
  • Public libraries
  • Free public art museums
  • Volunteer Fire and Rescue Associations
  • Churches

Starting a new nonprofit is a noble and rewarding experience but there are a lot of responsibilities, laws and regulations that must be followed. Registering with the Department of Business Regulations Charitable Division will be a necessary step in the process of becoming a licensed charity in RI.

Questions? Contact any member of our Not-for-Profit Services Team.

Stay informed. Get all the latest news delivered straight to your inbox.

Also in Mission Matters Blog

up arrow Scroll to Top