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Termination of Private Foundation Status

Once an organization is classified as a private foundation, it may only terminate that status under the provisions of Internal Revenue Code section 507. Under section 507, there are four ways to terminate private foundation status, two of which involve tax liability:

1. Voluntary termination by notifying the IRS of intent to terminate and paying a termination tax: To voluntarily terminate under section
507(a)(1), the organization must send a statement to the Manager, Exempt Organizations Determinations (Internal Revenue Service, Exempt Organizations Determinations, P.O. Box 2508, Cincinnati, OH 45201) of its intent to terminate its status under section 507(a)(1). The statement must provide, in detail, the computation and amount of private foundation termination tax. Unless the organization requests abatement, it must pay the tax at the time the statement is filed.

2. Involuntary termination for either willful repeated violations or a willful and flagrant violation of the private foundation excise tax provisions and becoming subject to the termination tax.

3. Transfer of assets to certain public charities:  A private foundation may terminate its status under section 507(b)(1)(A) by distributing all its net assets to one or more organizations with a ruling or determination letter described in section 509(a)(1). However, the organization to which the distribution is made must have been in existence and so described for a continuous period of at least 60 months before the distribution.  A private foundation that terminates its status in compliance with section 507(b)(1)(A) is not required to notify the IRS of its intent to terminate, and does not owe the termination tax. 

4. Operating as a public charity for a continuous period of 60 months after giving appropriate notice:  An organization may terminate its private foundation status under section 507(b)(1)(B) if it meets the requirements of section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3)) for a continuous 60-month period beginning with the first day of any tax year, and notifies the Service before beginning the 60-month period that it is terminating its private foundation status.

The notice of termination of private foundation status via operation as a public charity should include:

  • The name and address of the private foundation,
  • Its intention to terminate its private foundation status,
  • The Code section under which it seeks classification (section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3)),
  • If section 509(a)(1) applies, the specific type of section 170(b)(1)(A) organization for which it seeks classification,
  • The date its regular tax year begins, and
  • The date the 60-month period begins (must be the beginning of a tax period).

The organization also must establish immediately after the end of the 60-month period that it has met the requirements of section 509(a)(1), (2), or (3). 

A foundation may also transfer its assets to another private foundation, commence voluntary termination, and pay no termination tax because it has no assets. In this case, the transferee acquires all of the aggregate tax benefits of the transferor associated with the transferred assets.


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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 19-Jul-2016