As an advisor to private foundations, I have seen them run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service time and again. Many of the missteps are inadvertent, but the penalties are no less severe. At the extreme, violations can lead to foundations losing their not-for-profit status. Sanctions also can take the form of additional excise taxes, as much as 200 percent of the amount in dispute. While not all pitfalls can be predicted, foundation leaders should at least be aware of the most frequent ...

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