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The Legal Answer Book for Private Foundations Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0471405795 ISBN-10: 0471405795 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A must-have guide that enables managers and trustees of private foundations, as well as their lawyers and accountants, to successfully navigate today’s increasingly complex tax laws and reporting requirements

Private foundations are the most regulated of nonprofit organizations. Burdened with laws written over thirty years ago, which have become more complex and intricate, private foundations are forced to operate in a harsh legal environment. An operational or reporting mistake, no matter how innocent or inadvertent, can lead to immense tax and other penalties.

To reap the charitable, tax, and other economic advantages of private foundations while avoiding the perils lurking in the myriad of tax-law traps, you must be fully informed about the basic legal requirements and the many subtleties and current developments affecting private foundations.

Written by two of today’s leading authorities on the laws regulating private foundations, The Legal Answer Book for Private Foundations provides this critical information in an efficient and comprehensible fashion. In clear, easy-to-understand language, the authors provide expert guidance on everything from how to set up a private foundation to how assets are invested, how funds are distributed to grantees, and how to avoid self-dealing.

You’ll find answers to such critical questions as:

  • What are the legal definitions of private foundation and public charity, and what constitutes a disqualified person?
  • Just what are the private foundation rules and what are the penalties for violating them?
  • What assets are involved in the calculations of the mandatory payout requirement?
  • How are self-dealing rules avoided?
  • What is an excess business holding?
  • Do foundations have to file annual returns with the IRS?
  • What are the alternatives to private foundations?

With the increasing opportunities for the establishment of private foundations, The Legal Answer Book for Private Foundations is an invaluable resource that is mandatory reading for anyone contemplating creation of a foundation or managing or advising an existing foundation.

About the Author

BRUCE R. HOPKINS is the country's leading authority on the law of tax-exempt organizations and a lawyer with the firm of Polsinelli, Shalton & Welte, PC. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Legal Answer Book for Nonprofit Organizations; The Second Legal Answer Book for Nonprofit Organizations; The First Legal Answer Book for Fund-Raisers; and The Second Legal Answer Book for Fund-Raisers; as well as the monthly newsletter The Nonprofit Counsel, all published by Wiley.
JODY BLAZEK is a founding partner of Blazek & Vetterling, LLP, an accounting firm that specializes in financial services planning for nonprofit organizations. She is the author of several leading nonprofit books, including Tax Planning and Compliance for Tax-Exempt Organizations, Third Edition; Financial Planning for Nonprofit Organizations; the 990 Handbook; and, with Bruce Hopkins, Private Foundations: Tax Laws and Compliance, all published by Wiley. Her focus on foundations began in 1969 at KPMG. She gained nonprofit management experience as treasurer of the Menil Foundation.

More About the Author

Bruce R. Hopkins is a lawyer who divides his time between the writing of books and his monthly newsletter, and the practice of law.

He is a senior partner in the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart PC, practicing in the firm's Kansas City, Missouri, and Washington, D.C., offices. He specializes in the representation of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations. His practice ranges over the entirety of law matters involving exempt organizations, with emphasis on the formation of nonprofit organizations, acquisition of recognition of tax-exempt status for them, governance and the law, the private inurement and private benefit doctrines, the intermediate sanctions rules, legislative and political campaign activities issues, public charity and private foundation rules, unrelated business planning, use of exempt and for-profit subsidiaries, joint venture planning, tax shelter involvement, review of annual information returns, Internet communications developments, the law of charitable giving (including planned giving), and fundraising law issues.

Mr. Hopkins is the series editor of John Wiley & Sons' Nonprofit Law, Finance, and Management Series. He is the author (or, in some instances, co-author) of 26 books that are currently on the market. His first book, The Law of Tax-Exempt Organizations, was first published in 1975. His most recent book, Fundraising Law Made Easy, was published in 2009. He writes a monthly newsletter, Bruce R. Hopkins' Nonprofit Counsel. All of these publications are published by John Wiley & Sons.

He received the 2007 Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Award (Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award) from the American Bar Association, Section of Business Law, Committee on Nonprofit Organizations. He is listed in "The Best Lawyers in America," Nonprofit Organizations/Charities Law, 2007-2010.

He participates in many conferences and seminars, including those sponsored by Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Texas, PESI, AICPA, Salk Institute, and Loyola University (Los Angeles).

He maintains the Nonprofit Law Center, accessible at

He earned his J.D. and LL.M. degrees at the George Washington University National Law Center, and his B.A. at the University of Michigan.

He is a member of the bars of the District of Columbia and the state of Missouri.

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