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FAQ

What tax forms does a private foundation file, and why?
Form 990PF to explain the basic functions and transactions of the Foundation. This form is made available to the public for inspection. You can view many Private Foundation Form 990PFs on Guidestar.org. This is the form where the Foundation shows that it met its obligations, made sufficient grants, and to whom the grants were made. This is the form that shows the Board of the Foundation and what the Board made. This is the form where the Foundation pays its basic tax. This is the Form that shows the amounts that actually go to charitable activities and the amounts that go to administration and marketing. https://www.irs.gov/uac/about-fo...Form 990T if the Foundation has activities that are subject to additional taxes Basically if the Foundation had Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI) this is the form that shows the UBTI activity and the tax the foundation needs to pay on its unrelated income. https://www.irs.gov/uac/form-990...Private Foundations may also have State filing obligations.
How do I start a Private Foundation and its pros & cons?
HOW DO I START A PRIVATE FOUNDATION:Accumulate lots of wealth, then see an Attorney with experience in Private Foundations.Private Foundations are not for everyone. You might be better advised to create a “Donor Advised Fund” through a Community Foundation. Donor-advised fund - WikipediaPROS & CONS:The biggest Pro is that you can fund the Private Foundation and receive a current year tax deduction in a high income year when you need a deduction. You can then “bank” the funds in the Private Foundation and use them to fund charities over a long period of time. And you can make sure that your contributions are really being used for the purposes intended. You can also do this with a Donor Advised Fund.The biggest Con is that there are lots of rules and regulations that must be closely followed. This becomes time consuming and expensive. There can be no “self dealing” or “private inurement”. If you do not meet all the rules and regulations there will be fines and penalties and you could lose your exemption. I believe that some of the fines can go as high as $10,000 per day.For Example, here is the IRS section on excise taxes.Private Foundation Excise TaxesThere is an excise tax on the net investment income of most domestic private foundations. This tax must be reported on Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation, and must be paid annually at the time for filing that return or in quarterly estimated tax payments if the total tax for the year is $500 or more.In addition, the Internal Revenue Code contains five provisions that impose excise taxes on private foundations, foundation managers, or other disqualified persons that engage in certain prohibited acts. These are (1) the taxes on self-dealing between private foundations and their substantial contributors or other disqualified persons; (2) requirements that the foundation annually distribute income for charitable purposes; (3) taxes on certain business holdings; (4) excise taxes designed to discourage behavior detracting from a foundation's ability to further charitable purposes (see more atJeopardizing Investments); and (5) penalty taxes on certain foundation expenditures. These excise taxes are reported and paid on Form 4720, Return of Certain Excise Taxes Under Chapters 41 and 42 of the Internal Revenue Code.Violation of these provisions gives rise to taxes and penalties against the private foundation and, in some cases, its managers, its substantial contributors, and certain related persons. The initial tax is automatically imposed if the foundation engages in a prohibited act. With the exception of self-dealing acts under section 4941, the initial taxes may be set aside if it is established that (1) a taxable event was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, and (2) the event was corrected within the correction period.Additional informationInstructions to Forms 990-PFInstructions to Form 4720Return Due Dates for Exempt Organizations Excise Tax Returns (Forms 4720 and 6069)Correction during correction periodPrivate foundation excise tax appeal procedures