Charitable organizations subject to registration requirement changes

July 7, 2016|Reona Vang

Charitable organizations take note: The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has put into place several key changes to the requirements for registering with the state. Changes to the contribution limits to require a review or an audit are also in effect.

Exemption from charitable solicitation registration requirement

As of June 1, 2016, a charitable organization is not required to register with the Wisconsin DFI if all of the following are relevant:

  • There is no intention of raising or receiving contributions in excess of $25,000 during the fiscal year—a change from the previous threshold of $5,000
  • All of its functions, including solicitation, are performed by unpaid individuals
  • None of the organization’s assets or income inures to the benefit of, or is paid to any officer or member

If the charitable organization decides to surrender or not renew its registration based on the new exemption rule, its registration with the state of Wisconsin will expire on July 31, 2016. However, if your charitable organization receives contributions in excess of $25,000 during a future fiscal year, you will have 30 days after exceeding the $25,000 threshold to apply for a new credential.

Changes to the contribution limits required for an audit or review

An audit is required for every registered charitable organization that received contributions in excess of $500,000 for the most recent fiscal year-end—a change from the previous level of $400,000.

A review is required for every registered charitable organization that received contributions in excess of $300,000 but not more than $500,000, for the most recent fiscal year-end—which was a change from the previous level of $200,000. Audited financial statements are accepted in place of a review.

Notable exceptions

A charitable organization can request for a waiver of submitting audited or reviewed financial statements by sending a written request within 90 days after its fiscal year end, if you can provide the following:

  • Waiver from an audit
    • Documentation showing contributions were less than $100,000 during each of the past three fiscal years.
    • The organization received one or more contributions from one contributor exceeding $400,000.
  • Waiver from a review
    • Documentation showing contributions were less than $100,000 during each of the past three fiscal years.
    • The organization received one or more contributions from one contributor exceeding $200,000.

Next steps

All charitable organization credentials expire on August 1 each year, regardless of your year-end.
You can renew your registration by visiting the Wisconsin DFI website. A renewal fee of $54 is also required.

There is a late payment period that extends to September 30, and also requires an additional late fee. Organizations that don’t renew their solicitation license will be revoked and you will be required to reapply for your license.

For more information, contact a member of our Not-For-Profit team with questions.


Reona Vang is a senior accountant on Schenck’s Government & Not-For-Profit Industry team with more than 10 years of audit and accounting experience. She provides audit, review and tax services to a variety of not-for-profit organizations. She is responsible for preparing financial statements and Form 990 tax returns.