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If a nonprofit group holds a raffle to raise money, is it possible to find out how much of the proceeds go to the charity?

Merton Vance

A state law regulating proceeds from raffles and other fundraisers was modified by the N.C. General Assembly and took effect on June 1, 2009.

It increases the limits on most nonprofit raffles from $50,000 to $125,000, allows nonprofits to raffle houses with values of up to $500,000 and allows statewide nonprofits with local affiliates to conduct up to two raffles a year for each affiliate.

Nonprofits must file forms with the Internal Revenue Service to get tax-exempt status. Most fall under what’s known as a 501(c)(3) organization, a reference to the section of the tax laws. These nonprofits must file an annual report with the IRS, called a Form 990, which lists financial records.

Nonprofits are encouraged to make Form 990s available for public review and most keep copies available. The forms can also be requested from the IRS.

“The whole premise of being tax exempt is that they should allow the public to see that if asked,” said Trisha Lester, vice president of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, an advocacy group that offers guidelines to nonprofit groups operating in the state.

Guidestar runs a website where you can track down information on nonprofits from all  over the country at www2.guidestar.org

For more information:

The N.C. Center for Nonprofits www.ncnonprofits.org

Internal Revenue Service www.irs.gov/charities

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