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IRS Update, November 2007: Updated Compliance Guidelines for Public Charities and Private Foundations


It's not always easy being part of a 501(c)(3) organization; keeping track of all the rules and regulations involved can be a daunting task. The IRS, however, has recently made things a bit easier by issuing updated versions of two useful brochures for public charities and private foundations.

Publications 4221-PC and 4221-PF are designed to aid organizations in understanding the requirements involved in retaining their tax-exempt status. Even if you already have a firm grasp of the rules, it's important to remember that the sector has undergone some significant changes in recent years, most notably those involving the Pension Protection Act of 2006. If you or someone at your organization hasn't already taken a look at one of these updated guides, it's probably time that you did.

Compliance Guide for Public Charities

Publication 4221-PC offers an overview of the reporting, record-keeping, and disclosure requirements for 501(c)(3) public charities as well as some specific activities that could lead to penalties or loss of exempt status. The publication also includes information on:

  • Filing a Form 990-N
  • Reporting changes of information
  • Obtaining assistance from the IRS

Compliance Guide for Private Foundations

Publication 4221-PF features the same type of information as it pertains to private foundations. Other topics covered include:

  • Filing a Form 990-PF
  • The different types of foundations
  • Requesting determination letters

Where to Get Copies

Hard copies of these publications can be ordered by calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-3676. They can also be downloaded in PDF format from the IRS Web site.

Patrick Ferraro, November 2007
© 2007, Philanthropic Research, Inc. (GuideStar)

Patrick Ferraro is a freelance writer in Seattle and a former editor of the Newsletter.
Topics: Law and Regulations
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