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Charities

The Attorney General regulates charities and the professional fundraisers who solicit on their behalf. The purpose of this oversight is to protect charitable assets for their intended use and ensure that the charitable donations contributed by Californians are not misapplied and squandered through fraud or other means. The main elements of the Attorney General´s regulatory program are:

  • The attorneys and auditors of the Charitable Trusts Section investigate and bring legal actions against charities and fundraising professionals that misuse charitable assets or engage in fraudulent fundraising practices. If you have a complaint about a charity or fundraising professional, please use our complaint form, pdf.
  • The Registry of Charitable Trusts administers the statutory registration program. All charitable trustees and fundraising professionals are required to register and file annual financial disclosure reports with the Registry. In addition, nonprofit organizations that conduct raffles for charitable purposes are required to register and file an annual financial report.
  • To help charities stay within the law, the Attorney General makes available various guides and publications, including the Attorney General´s Guide for Charities, pdf. Additional guidance forcharities is available on our Resources page.
  • The Attorney General also offers guidance to help Californians make important personal decisions on charitable giving. These resources include the Guide to Charitable Giving for Donors, pdf and searchable databases to learn about specific charities and charitable fundraising professionals in the state. Among the databases are Registry Search, for registrants generally, and CFR Search, which provides information and documents regarding commercial fundraisers for charitable purposes. For help using and interpreting the results from the Registry Search, please review Registry Search Feature – Tips for use and definition of the codes.

Charity Research Resources

The Registry Search tool allows a registrant’s public filings to be viewed and downloaded from the Registry database. These public filings include a copy of the annual informational return (Forms 990, 990-PF, and 990-EZ) filed with the Registry, as well as registration forms and documents that organizations are required to file with this office. If you are unable to find the informational return you are looking for using the Registry Search tool, we also post a searchable database of informational returns filed directly with the IRS. PLEASE NOTE: The searchable database is not the Registry database. It is a third-party web site that scans informational returns filed with the IRS and does not include any state-specific registration data.

These tools, along with the resources posted on the Resources page of this web site, allow donors to become informed about a charity before making a decision to give. In the Guide to Charitable Giving for Donors, pdf, you will find giving tips and, at pages 9-14, a guide to reviewing the Form 990. If you have any questions regarding Registry filings, Contact the Registrar.

Change in Raffle Reporting Requirements

Please note: A single aggregate report for all raffles held during the reporting year is due on or before October 1st. The Nonprofit Raffle Report (Form CT-NRP-2) must be used by all organizations. Precise record-keeping is required as reports that include estimates of proceeds and expenses will not be accepted for filing. Organizations that host raffles as part of a larger fundraising event must maintain a record of raffle proceeds and expenses separate from all other event monies: only raffle proceeds and expenses on Form CT-NRP-2.

Filing a Complaint

Have a complaint against a charity? Please use our complaint form, pdf. Mail the completed form and any attachments to:

  • Registry of Charitable Trusts
  • Office of the Attorney General
  • P.O. Box 903447
  • Sacramento, CA 94203-4470

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