Important Things to Know About IRS Form 990-PF for Private Foundations

It's time for private foundations to catch up on Form 990-PF and the latest IRS requirements.

Form 990-PF

As private foundations focus on their spring programs, it’s also time to meet IRS filing requirements for the 2020 tax year. Many private foundations are preparing to file Form 990-PF for the May 17, 2021 IRS deadline. 

For this annual form, it’s important to be up to date on the most recent IRS requirements. Here is everything private foundations need to remember as they prepare for their upcoming deadline.

What is Form 990-PF?

Form 990-PF is one of the 990 series returns. Private foundations use this tax form to report their total assets, financial activities, grants and awards, charitable distributions, and governing officers to the IRS and the public. Form 990-PF also helps private foundations figure out taxes based on investment income. 

Who Needs to File Form 990-PF?

Form 990-PF is a requirement for private foundations and nonexempt charitable trusts. Section 5019(c)(3) organizations, organizations considered tax-exempt under Section 501(a)(1), and Section 49479(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trusts should file Form 990-PF every year. 

Private foundations that have applied for tax-exempt status but are still awaiting a reply from the IRS when their deadline rolls around should file Form 990-PF.

One of the most common mistakes on Form 990-PF is claiming an exemption your private foundation doesn’t qualify for. Visit this blog to find out more about avoiding and correcting this mistake.

Not sure if your private foundation should be filing Form 990-PF. Use our free calculator to find out.

Form 990-PF Changes

There have been a few investment income tax law changes that impact Form 990-PF filers for the 2020 tax year. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act changed the excise tax on private foundations’ net investment income to 1.39%. This tax used to be 2%, so this is good news for private foundations.

This law also repealed section 49409(e) of the Internal Revenue Code. Because of this, private foundations can skip Part V of Form 990-PF.

When is Form 990-PF Due?

If your private foundation operates on a calendar tax year, the Form 990-PF deadline is May 17, 2021. 

If not, the Form 990-PF deadline is always the 15th day of the 5th month following the end of a private foundation’s tax period. When this due date falls on a holiday or weekend, private foundations have until the next business day to file.

Not sure when you need to file Form 990-PF? Click here to check with our free deadline calculator. 

Information Reported on Form 990-PF

There’s a lot of information to report on Form 990-PF. Before you file Form 990-PF, it’s helpful to make sure you have everything on hand for a smooth filing process. 

Form 990-PF provides you to provide your organization’s basic information and details about activities and operations. You will need to fill out an analysis of revenue, expenses, investment income and provide changes in net assets. Private foundations are also required to balance an balance sheet and make statements and summaries about financial activities and charitable activities. 

Be ready to describe all your private foundation’s programs. You will also need to enter information about highly paid employees, officers, directors, trustees, and managers.  

How to File Form 990-PF

When it’s time to file Form 990-PF, having a great filing method is key. E-filing is the IRS requirement for most private foundations and working with an e-file provider is a great way to take the stress out of your deadline.


When you e-file Form 990-PF with ExpressTaxExempt you get great support, automatic error checks, notifications on your return’s status, and everything you need to have a smooth deadline. You can choose between interview-style or form-based filing, provide all your information, and transmit your Form 990-PF to the IRS instantly.

Meet your deadline easily when you e-file Form 990-PF this tax year. We’re here to help. 


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *