Legal & Regulatory

As a result of the IRS' growing concern about the activities of foundations, grantmakers must be aware of legislative and regulatory changes in order to ensure compliance and avoid penalties. This section provides information on these key areas:

  • IRS Form 990 PF Signer & Preparer Responsibilities
  • Accountability tools for private foundations
  • Regulatory contact information
  • Lobbying regulations


  • Report Outlines Common Tax Reporting Pitfalls for Private Foundations: A new white paper from Foundation Source outlines common errors that private foundations can make when completing their 990-PF form. The report details several mistakes found in tax reporting for private foundations, including incorrect calculation of the minimum distribution requirement (MDR), failure to include allowed administrative expenses in the MDR, and improper calculation and application of excess grant carryover. The report also addresses potential pitfalls regarding investment-related expenses and disqualified persons.
  • UPMIFA - Georgia Charities: On July 1, 2008, the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act ("UPMIFA") takes effect in Georgia for most charitable institutions.
  • A Guide to the New 990 for Grantors: Beginning in 2009, most public charities will be required to file the completely redesigned 2008 Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. For those private grantmaking foundations and other grantors that know where to look, this new form will provide a wealth of information about potential grantees. The following is a guide to some of the more important information available.
  • Accountability Tools for Private Foundations: Private foundations can use this tool to ensure they are complying with federal laws and to assess how well they are engaging in recommended practices for being accountable to the public.
  • Unusual Grants: An Online Legal Guide for Public Charities: Examines grantmaking in eight "non-501(c)(3)” areas: religious institutions, government, non-charitable exempt organizations, international groups, fiscal sponsorships, disaster relief and emergency hardship, scholarships, and private foundations.
  • The Due Diligence Tool: Research-based method for the foundation program officer to assess an organization’s health, culled from a variety of foundations’ best practices. Includes checklists and worksheets.
  • Facing Important Legal Issues: Starting a family foundation involves many legal issues, including: Defining your foundation's charitable purposes; obtaining tax-exempt status; choosing assets that will fund the foundation; and staying out of trouble.
  • Foundation Desk Reference: Our bestselling compendium of private foundation rules has everything you need to know, including important provisions from the Pension Protection Act of 2006. By Benjamin T. White, Esq. Updated and reprinted in 2008.
  • Alliance for Justice: AFJ works to advance the cause of justice for all Americans, strengthen the public interest community's ability to influence public policy, and foster the next generation of advocates.