Financial

[ Re-Affiliation Required Documentation ] 

Fund Raising – Proof of Registration as a State Public Charity
IRS 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Determination Letter
IRS 990
Financial Audit/Review


Fund Raising – Proof of Registration as a State Public Charity

In order to register as a public charity, you will need to go to the State of Wisconsin Department of Public Institution's website and complete the registration application. Visit wdfi.org.

This is an annual filing that requires an annual report to be submitted in conjunction with renewal. For the initial application, supplementary filings and annual report applications, visit the Fundraising Resources page. Note, the supplemental and annual filing forms required for each affiliate will differ based on your tax-exempt filing and other financial stipulations. Visit the WDFI website for Charitable Organizations to see which forms your affiliate is required to submit.

Once you complete this process, your application will be reviewed and upon approval, you will receive a certificate stating your affiliate is a registered public charity. You can then upload this document to the profile center as proof of registration.

For questions regarding the registration process, you can access an FAQ section or contact the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions at (608) 261-9555.

Note: You will need to renew this registration annually. There is a filing fee you will be required to pay in addition to completing the required report. If your affiliate’s registration lapses, you will also be required to pay a late fee prior to reinstatement. You will be reminded, however, prior to the deadline for renewal by the Wisconsin DFI via a mailed renewal notice. Questions on renewal can also be directed to the Wisconsin DFI at 608-261-9555.

IRS 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Determination Letter

  • Provide the official IRS letter indicating that your affiliate organization is exempt from Federal Income Tax 

To Obtain 501 (c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status:

Submit  form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption to the IRS:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012-0192

IRS Information

To Obtain Wisconsin Franchise & Income Tax Exemptions

Federally exempt 501(c)(3) organizations are automatically exempt from Wisconsin corporate franchise and income taxes and need not apply for exemption. For more information, please call the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue at 608-266-2772

To Obtain Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption

Generally, federally exempt 501(c)(3) organizations will qualify for sales tax exemption in Wisconsin. To obtain a Certificate of Exempt Status (CES) number, the organization must submit Form S-103 (CES) along with a copy of the IRS tax exemption determination letter, Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and a statement of income and expenses for the organization’s most recent accounting period to:

Wisconsin Department of Revenue
PO Box 8902
Madison, Wisconsin 53708-8902

For more information, please contact (608) 266-2776

For questions about this document, contact IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Customer Account Services at: 877-829-5500

Example Tax Exemption Letter for NAMI Wisconsin


IRS 990

This policy should include the following:

  • Provide copies of Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990-N (as applicable) from the past two years

The Form 990, entitled "Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax," is a report that must be filed each year with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by organizations exempt from Federal income taxes under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, and whose annual receipts are normally more than $25,000 a year. It is an information return and not an income tax return since the organizations that file it do not pay income taxes.

The Form 990 serves two essential purposes. First, it provides information that helps government agencies (the IRS and state charity regulators) enforce the laws that govern nonprofits. For example, it helps government regulators learn whether groups have been spending their funds in a way that might cause them to lose their charitable and tax-exempt status. Second, the Form 990 provides a great deal of financial information about the filing organization's financial condition, about its financial strength or weakness and about such things as the sources of its income.

Learn more about how to read and use the Form 990 you may explore the “Instructions for Form 990 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax” guide

Get a blank copy of the 2013 Wisconsin 990 Form

View an example of a completed Wisconsin 990 Form

Beginning with the 2010 tax year:

  • If your incomes are less than $50,000, submit Form 990-N (“ePostcard”) to the IRS
  • If your incomes are less than $200,000 AND your assets are less than $500,000, submit Form 990-EZ to the IRS
  • If your incomes are greater than or equal to $200,000 OR your assets are greater than or equal to $500,000, submit Form 990 to the IRS
If your affiliate is seeking 501(c)(3) status for the first time, please submit a document indicating that information, along with Form 990, Form 990-EZ, or Form 990-N (as applicable) after it has been filed for the first time.

If your affiliate is a 501(c)(3) organization but has not been consistently submitting Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N to the IRS, please submit a document indicating this (including any relevant reasons why it has not been submitted in years past). Then, submit your very next Form 990, 990-EZ, or 990-N to the NAMI Profile Center.

Financial Audit/Review

How do I know if my affiliate is required to complete an audit or review??

  • If you are a direct grantee of state or federal government you will almost certainly be required to have an annual audit.  You should examine you grant terms to be sure you are in compliance.
  • Some public and/or private foundations require an audit in order to fund organizations. If you receive foundation grants, examine the grant terms for compliance obligations. If you are planning to enter into that domain, you will need to plan accordingly.
  • If your organization is carrying a loan or has a significant line of credit, your lender may require an annual audit.

For the purposes of affiliation through the NAMI Standards of Excellence, we would expect that you are operating within the guidelines of any of the above entities with which you are actively engaged. However, if none of the above situations apply to your organization, the following guidelines for the level of financial review NAMI requires are as follows:

  • If your organization has gross annual revenue of $500,000 or more, you need to have an annual audit.
  • If you organization has gross annual revenue of between $50,001 and $499,999, a financial review will be sufficient.
  • If your organization has gross annual revenue of $50,000 or less, a compilation will be sufficient.

The cost of accounting services vary widely, and just like with insurance, we recommend that you shop around for the best rate you can find. A good rule of thumb, especially in small organizations, is to stay local when choosing an accounting firm, rather than going with a big name that has less incentive to give you personalized attention. You should also ask about whether a firm offers pro bono services to small nonprofits, or if the rates can be reduced for nonprofit organizations. Another factor in the cost of these services is the area of the country in which you operate and whether you are in an urban or rural community. An additional consideration in the cost of these services is the length of time it will take the accountants to complete the work, and that is often based on how well your books have been kept and the organization of your records. Below are some very general guidelines for what you might expect to pay – but these are not hard and fast rules and you can expect some variation depending on where you operate.

  • Audit services can cost between $4,000 and $10,000
  • A Financial Review can cost between $2,000 and $6,000
  • A Compilation can cost between $400 and $1,000

Note: For those of you who will only require a compilation, NAMI Wisconsin has worked with the University of Wisconsin–Madison Business Center which has volunteered services to complete the first annual compilation for affiliates meeting that criteria. In order to set this up, please contact Kyira Hauer directly at kyira@namiwisconsin.org, so she can walk you through the next steps of the process. Please be aware that a compilation will need to be done annually and should be done at the end of your fiscal year. Further, in order for a compilation to be sufficient by NAMI standards, it must include the following:

  • Having the reviewer state their qualification (accounting student of professor x of y university, e.g.)
  • Explain what they did to complete to the compilation (a few sentences is plenty)
  • State any noteworthy findings