Forgetting to File California’s Form SI-100 Comes with Consequences

How much trouble can a one-page form cause? Quite a lot.

Several California not-for-profit organizations have been suspended by the California secretary of state for neglecting to file Form SI-100, Statement of Information. Others that didn’t file Form SI-100, in addition to being suspended, have had their exempt status revoked by the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

Filing Basics

Form SI-100 is a one-page informational form that asks for information about corporate officers, processing agents, and addresses. One of the reasons organizations struggle with Form SI-100 filings is the due date. Since it’s based on incorporation date and required only every other year, it tends to slip from an organization’s radar.

Here’s how it works: The form must be filed within 90 days after an organization initially files its articles of incorporation in California and biennially for each filing period thereafter during the applicable filing period. Credit unions and consumer cooperative corporations, however, are required to file annually instead of biennially. The applicable filing period is determined based on the month in which the articles of incorporation were initially filed. It includes that month and the preceding five months.

For example, if ABC Corporation filed its articles of incorporation with California on August 15, 2014, the organization would have 90 days from that date to file an initial SI-100—making the initial filing deadline November 13, 2014. ABC Corporation would then have to file SI-100 again by August 15, 2016, or during the preceding five months.

Form SI-100 carries a filing fee of $20. It can be filed electronically via the California secretary of state Web site, which also provides additional information about the form.

Ramifications

So, what happens if you do forget to file Form SI-100? If it’s not filed in a timely manner, the California secretary of state may assess a penalty in the amount of $250. Worse, it may suspend your organization, and worst yet, FTB may revoke your tax-exempt status for failure to file.

You can check on the status of your organization at http://kepler.sos.ca.gov. Search using your corporation name or California entity number. If your organization is listed as suspended, call FTB’s exempt organizations unit at (916) 845-4171 to ask for an explanation of the suspension. FTB’s Web site also provides a list of exempt organizations whose status has been revoked.

What Should You Do If You’re Penalized?

Whether you’ve been assessed a penalty, suspended, or had your status revoked, you can always contact your organization’s tax advisor for help filing the appropriate paperwork and taking the right steps to remediate the problem. If your organization has been suspended:

  • File Form SI-100 with the California secretary of state as soon as possible via the filing Web site.
  • File Form 3500A, Submission of Exemption Request (the short version), along with a copy of your IRS determination letter. Note that in order to use Form 3500A, your California Forms 199 or 199N and 109 for all applicable tax years must have been filed, and any associated filing fees or taxes must have been paid.

If in addition to being suspended your organization’s tax-exempt status has been revoked, call your tax advisor for assistance, or start by filing Form SI-100, just as you would above. Second, file Form 3500, Exemption Application (the long version). This application must include the following informational attachments:

  • Any amendments made to your governing documents (that is, your articles of incorporation or bylaws).
  • Your last three years of filed federal Forms 990, 990-EZ, or 990-PF
  • Your IRS determination letter
  • Your FTB determination letter

Be Proactive

As you can see, failure to file this one-page report every other year can lead to additional filings and costs. It can also hold up possible grant receipts or applications, preventing you from accomplishing your mission. As an easy fix, we recommend you calendar the due date for your Form SI-100 submission and assign a specific person at your organization to make sure the form is filed on time each filing period.

If you need help, call us. We can calendar your SI-100 filing for you and prepare the form on your behalf to help you steer clear of penalties and potential suspensions. If you have questions about the form or other state and federal filings relevant to your not-for-profit organization, or if you’d like assistance navigating the filing process, contact a Moss Adams not-for-profit professional.