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California AB 488 and How It Impacts Facebook Giving Tools Eligibility

The inside scoop on California AB 488, how it impacts you nonprofit, and how to get Facebook Giving Tools turned back on with the help of Meta's direct partner, Candid.

By  
Adam O’Brien
  •  
September 20, 2023

Note from the author: This blog was originally published on February 19th, 2023. It has been updated on September 19th, 2023 to reflect additional information that has been gathered directly from Meta.

This update, which is critical for nonprofits of all sizes and is outlined in the section "Steps to  Restore Government Compliance", introduces a direct path to work with Candid (a Meta designated partner for compliance issues related to California AB 488) to streamline the removal of nonprofits from government block lists as well as defined timelines for auto-restoration of Facebook Giving Tools.

Odds are, if you are intentionally reading this blog, you have dealt with having Facebook Giving Tools turned off for your nonprofit at some point.

There’s a handful of reasons that this could happen - here’s a quick list of the most common reasons:

  • Failure to comply with Meta’s policies: If a nonprofit fails to comply with Meta’s policies, Facebook does reserve the right to turn off Giving Tools.
  • Technical issues: quick example - if a nonprofit's payment account information is incorrect, Facebook has the right to turn off Giving Tools access until the issue is resolved.
  • Failure to comply with Government Regulations and Policies: Failure to comply with government regulations can result in being added to a government block list. Nonprofits infractions are most commonly tied to legislation from California AB 488.


The Scoop on California AB 488

The aforementioned blocklists are owned and maintained by United States government agencies - something that’s checked on a frequent, automated process.

How Meta Continuously Checks Giving Tools Eligibility (North America - United States)

As part of Meta’s legal obligations to donors and governmental bodies, Meta checks various compliance points of charities, including the franchise Tax Board blocklist, Attorney General of California Verification Search, and Internal Revenue Services Revocation list. 

Organizations that appear on one of the three blocklists are prohibited from operating in any capacity in the state of California, so those that were listed were removed from fundraising.

Meta can’t individually check charities’ status and/or review ad-hoc documentation, so they rely on these lists, which are maintained by the agencies themselves.

Here's the specific info on the California's AB 488 regulation, directly from Meta's recent blog post on this subject:

California’s AB488, a law regulating online fundraising platforms, came into force on January 1, 2023 and requires Meta to conduct daily checks of the Franchise Tax Board, Attorney General of California, and Internal Revenue Service blocklists. If your nonprofit organization is not in good standing and appears on any of these governmental agency blocklists, your organization will lose access to Meta’s fundraising tools. This includes the donate button on Facebook and Instagram. Note that this requirement is applicable to all US charities, not just those headquartered in California. The law requires that if you have been flagged by the State, regardless of your location, we will have to remove your access.

Key Dates to Consider When Submitting Required Government Filings and Fees

Thankfully, having your nonprofit land on a block list can be prevented by ensuring required filings and fees are submitted and processed in accordance to government regulations.

For the following list, keep in mind that filings and fees are due 4 months and 15 days after your nonprofit's fiscal year ends:

  • Fiscal Year Ending January 31: Due date is June 15, or December 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending February 28/29: Due date is July 15, or January 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending March 31: Due date is August 15, or February 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending April 30: Due date is September 15, or March 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending May 31: Due date is October 15, or April 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending June 30: Due date is November 15, or May 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending July 31: Due date is December 15, or June 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending August 31: Due date is January 15, or July 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending September 30: Due date is February 15, or August 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending October 31: Due date is March 15, or September 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending November 30: Due date is April 15, or October 15 with IRS extension.
  • Fiscal Year Ending December 31: Due date is May 15, or November 15 with IRS extension.


How to Check Government Block Lists Tied to California AB 488

The aforementioned blocklists are owned and maintained by United States government agencies - something that’s checked on a frequent, automated process.

The following three sites are the 3 places to check to ensure that you are not in violation of Meta and Facebook’s Giving Tools policies:

Steps to  Restore Government Compliance

Working Directly with Candid to Restore Compliance

In a new development (as of September 2023), Meta has partnered with Candid to provide nonprofits with a direct partner to work with to restore Facebook Giving Tools eligibility.

Nonprofits who find themselves on any of the following government blocks lists can simply email Candid support (support@candid.org) to start the manual reconciliation process.

Nonprofits must provide Candid with proof of its good standing. Candid will then verify that the nonprofit meets the requirements set by three governmental entities that are outlined below: Franchise Tax Board, Attorney General, and the IRS. If Candid approves:

  • Charities that lost access within the last 90 days will be automatically reinstated to Meta’s tools.
  • Charities that lost access more than 90 days ago will need to follow the subsequent steps provided below.
Breakdown of Government Block Lists

We've tracked down those specific, which can be found below:

The State of California Franchise Tax Board

To stay compliant you must first file for Exemption or Reinstatement (Form 3500) with the State of California and then annually submit a Form 199.

Additional Resources:

Support:

  • Chat
  • Phone - Exempt Organizations Unit at 916-845-4171. Their hours are 7:00 to 4:30 weekdays, except for state holidays.
The Attorney General of California

To stay compliant you must first initially register using Form CT-1 and then you must annually renew your registration using Form RRF-1 or Form CT-TR-1.

Additional Resources:

Support:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

To stay compliant you must stay compliant with all federal filings including your initial registration, your annual return (Form 990).

Additional Resources:

Support:

It's worth noting that once your nonprofit is in good standing with government, it could take a few weeks to officially be removed from any of the blocklists. It's worth making sure you, or a member of your team, keep tags on the lists to ensure you know when your nonprofit is officially back in good standing.

Once your nonprofit is officially removed from the block lists, you will be in the clear to apply for Facebook Giving Tools reactivated.

How to Restore Facebook Giving Tools Access

Once your nonprofit has removed from any of the 3 block lists outlined in above, there's a two step process that needs to be followed to turn Facebook Giving Tools back on:

Need More Help? Let's Talk.

If you find that you need additional help or need clarification on any of the steps above, complete a request here and we will be happy to see how we can help your nonprofit get back on track with Facebook Giving Tools.