Is a principal officer (for Item F in the Form 990 Header) the same as an officer who has to sign the Form in Part II, and/or an officer whose compensation needs to be reported in Part VII, Part IX, and Schedule J?
No, the definitions of principal officer and officer differ. A principal officer, for purposes of completing Item F in the header, is a person who has ultimate responsibility for implementing the decisions of the organization’s governing body, or for supervising the management, administration, or operation of the organization. An officer who is authorized to sign the form (in Part II) may be the organization’s president, vice president, treasurer, assistant treasurer, chief accounting officer or other corporate or association officer, such as a tax officer. For purposes of reporting officers and their compensation elsewhere on the Form 990 and schedules, an officer is a person elected or appointed to manage the organization’s daily operations, such as a president, a vice president, secretary or treasurer. The officers of an organization are determined by reference to its organizing documents, bylaws or resolutions of its governing body, and at a minimum include those officers required by applicable state law. For purposes of Form 990 reporting, treat the organization's top management official and top financial official as officers.