How to Complete Form 990-PF with ExpressTaxExempt

ExpressTaxExempt is here to help you e-file Form 990-PF with ease!

Form 990-PF is used to:

  • Figure the tax based on investment income, and
  • report charitable distributions and activities

Who must file Form 990-PF?

  • Form 990-PF is an annual information return that must be filed by the following:
    • Exempt private foundations (section 6033(a), (b), (c)).
    • Taxable private foundations (section 6033(d)).
    • Organizations that agree to private foundation status and whose applications for exempt status are pending on the due date for filing Form 990-PF
    • Organizations that claim private foundation status, haven’t yet applied for exempt status, and whose application isn’t yet untimely under section 508(a) for retroactive recognition of exemption
    • Organizations that made an election under section 41(e)(6)(D)(iv).
    • Private foundations that are making a section 507(b) termination
    • Section 4947(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trusts treated as private foundations (section 6033(d)).

Form 990-PF is broken down into multiple parts. The filing requirements are based on factors such as the foundation type, location, and transaction history.

If you are filing Form 990-PF using our form-based filing option, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Begin by completing the sections at the top of the form as needed:

A. Use the calendar icons to update the tax year if needed:

B. Make sure to update the tax year beginning date first. Select the month from the dropdown menu and click the day on the calendar. The end date will then update automatically:

C. For item C, check the box if the organization’s exemption application is pending:

D. For item D, check box 1 if the organization is a foreign organization. Check box 2 if it is a foreign organization that meets the 85% test:

E. For item E, check the box if the private foundation’s status was terminated under section 507(b)(1)(A). Checking this box means that the private foundation terminated its private foundation status under section 507(b)(1)(A) during the tax year being reported, by distributing all its net assets to one or more public charities without keeping any right, title, or interest in those assets:

F. For item F, check the box if the private foundation is in a 6-month termination under section 507(b)(1)(B). Checking this box means that the organization is terminating its private foundation status under the 60-month provisions of section 507(b)(1)(B) during the time period covered by this return. To begin termination, the private foundation must have given advance notice to the IRS:

G. For item G, check any of the scenarios that apply:

Note: The term “Final Return” indicates that the organization has ceased to exist. The “Final Return” box would not be checked to indicate it is the final return the organization is filing for the tax year.

H. In item H, select the organization’s type from the options below:

  1. Section 501(c)(3) exempt private foundation – If the foundation has a ruling or determination letter from the IRS in effect recognizing its exemption from federal income tax as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) or if the organization’s exemption application is pending with the IRS, check this option.
  2. Section 4947(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trust – If the organization is a nonexempt charitable trust treated as a private foundation, check this option.
  3. Other taxable private foundations – If neither of the above applies, check this option.

I. In item I, report the fair market value (FMV) of all assets at the end of the year. This amount should be the same as the figure reported in Part II, line 16, column (c):

J. In item J, select the organization’s accounting method from the options below. An accounting method is a practice a taxpayer follows to determine the year in which to report revenue and expenses for federal income tax purposes. An exempt organization may adopt an accounting method not only for purpose of calculating taxable income but also for purpose of determining whether taxable income will be subject to federal income tax.

  1. Cash – Most individuals and many small businesses use the cash method of accounting. Generally, if you produce, purchase, or sell merchandise, you must keep an inventory and use an accrual method for sales and purchases of merchandise.
  2. Accrual – Under an accrual method of accounting, you generally report income in the year it is earned and deduct or capitalizes expenses in the year incurred. The purpose of an accrual method of accounting is to match income and expenses in the correct year.
  3. Other – If selecting this option you must describe it using the provided box.

If you are filing Form 990-PF using our interview-based filing option, follow these steps to get started:

  1. Begin by continuing to the Tax Year page or clicking “Edit” to the right of “Tax-Exempt Status” if you’ve already started your form:

2. Select whether the organization has a calendar or fiscal tax year:

3. Select all that apply for Item G of the 990-PF:

4. Complete details about the organization’s formation:

5. Select the organization’s tax-exempt status:

6. Complete additional questions based on the tax-exempt status selected:

7. Indicate if this is a group exemption and, if it is, complete the additional questions as they apply to the organization:

8. Select the organization’s gross receipt range and accounting method


Want to see steps for other types of organizations or other 990 series forms and schedules? Comment below and we’ll make your request a future blog!

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