The 990-PF: How to Reap Savings and Avoid Pitfalls


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Instructions for the IRS Form 990-PF

The 990-PF is the information return private foundations file with the Internal Revenue Service.

In the hands of an experienced preparer, it can yield unexpected savings; in the wrong hands, it can expose you to penalties you never saw coming.

At Foundation Source, we’ve seen thousands of 990-PFs filed by other preparers—and we’ve seen a lot of mistakes. Some of these mistakes might expose the foundation to undue scrutiny while others take the form of missed opportunities for tax savings. In this article, our tax professionals share some important tips for navigating this highly specialized and nuanced tax form.

Other Information:

Foundations are required to file the 990-PF four-and-one-half months after the end of the foundation’s fiscal year. It is open to public inspection and widely available on a number of websites, such as popular charity research websites. The form lists the names of the foundation’s trustees and officers, its assets, and the grants the foundation has made over the course of the year, among other things.

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