An organization which solicits and receives contributions in excess of $5,000 annually must register with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. A charitable organization means a business entity that is described in section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, or a person who purports to be established for a charitable purpose. Charitable purpose means a purpose described in section 501(c) (3) of the internal revenue code or as benevolent, educational, philanthropic, humane, scientific, patriotic, social welfare or advocacy, public health, environmental conservation, civic or other eleemosynary objective. (See the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov)
Fundraising in Wisconsin
If your organization received over $5,000 in a fiscal year (regardless of whether solicited or unsolicited), you will need to contact a financial tax specialist or tax attorney to determine if your groups must submit a “Charitable Organization Annual Financial Report” (Form #308) for that accounting period (for more details on this requirement see Wisconsin Department of Revenue, http://drl.wi.gov/prof/char/form.htm). You may, however, file IRS form 990 (not form 990EZ) in lieu of Form #308, along with “Wisconsin Supplement to Financial Report on Form Other Than Form #308” (Form 1952). Due to the complexities of tax law, it would be best to consult the appropriate tax professionals before implementing a large scale fund-raising project.
Except as provided in Wisconsin §§440.42(5), no charitable organization may solicit in this State or have contributions solicited in this State on its behalf unless it is registered with the department. Every charitable organization which receives $5,000 or less in contributions is exempt from filing an annual report, but must submit an affidavit. The organization may file on Form #1943. Please refer to “Charitable Solicitations” http://www.legis.state.wi.us/rsb/code/rl/rl005.pdf.
(See also Tax Filing Requirements)