On July 19, 2018, the California Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and other state Attorneys General announced enforcement actions have been taken against charities that conduct fundraising solicitations that falsely promise to help veterans and military service members.  More information about this enforcement and education effort is available through the California Attorney General's press release.

Action to Check Status of Charities

Charities conducting fundraising activities in California must register with the California Attorney General's Registrar of Charitable Trusts.  The Registrar of Charitable Trusts has a look up tool available on their website for potential donors and other interested parties to check the validity and status of registered charities, as well as to view available filings that have been made with the Registry of Charitable Trusts.

Additional information regarding qualified tax exempt charities is available from the California Franchise Tax Board (Revoked Exempt Organizations List) and Internal Revenue Service (Tax Exempt Organization Search Tool).

California and Foreign Business Entities (Corporations, Limited Liability Companies and Limited Partnerships) register with the California Secretary of State prior to seeking tax exemption and registering with the Registrar of Charitable Trusts.  Documents filed with the California Secretary of State can be downloaded for free through the business search tool on the bizfile Online portal.

Where to File a Complaint

For general information on complaints about a charity or charitable solicitation go to the California Attorney General's website. A Complaint to the California Attorney General Regarding a Charity or Charitable Solicitation can be completed online and printed to mail or email.

False Presentation Law to Punish Cheats Who Solicit Veterans and Others

Existing law makes it a misdemeanor to fraudulently solicit or receive money or property for charitable or religious purposes, or lie about the soliciting organization’s purpose as charitable or religious or the manner in which the money or property will be used. Violations are punishable by imprisonment, by a fine of up-to $5000, or both.

** Disclaimer: Although every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained on the bizfile Online portal is accurate, the California Secretary of State's office is not responsible for any loss, consequence, or damage resulting directly or indirectly from reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of the information that is provided. All such information is provided "as is."

Statutes of 1998, Chapter 166, Sec. 1 (AB 903 Miller)