Exempt organization tax services

Helping tax-exempt organizations navigate unique compliance, structure, and planning challenges.

Who we are

Tax exempt organizations face challenges unlike any other industry. Having a comprehensive tax strategy is key when facing scrutiny from regulators and the public alike. Our dedicated team of specialists within our National Tax Services (NTS) Exempt Organizations practice is ready to assist a variety of tax-exempt organizations including healthcare systems, education institutions, cultural organizations, private foundations, and pension trusts with traversing their unique issues and navigating policy changes.

How PwC can help


Tax-exempt healthcare organizations face many issues such as:

  • Funding reductions resulting from increased pressures on federal and state budgets
  • Ongoing requirements for hospitals post the Affordable Care Act
  • Importance of maintaining tax-exempt status in connection with providing quality healthcare

Considerations for healthcare providers include:

  • Efficiencies and processes in Form 990 and Form 990-T reporting
  • Compliance with section 501(r) requirements
  • Joint venture/unrelated business income activities in a more complex healthcare deals market

Higher education and other nonprofits

Tax-exempt educational and nonprofit institutions have unique challenges including:

  • Increased complexity of investments within their endowments
  • Geographically diverse workforce as institutions grow online and foreign programs
  • Continued scrutiny of compensation to key executives, investment professionals, and athletic coaches
  • Excise taxes on certain compensation arrangements and net investment income

For success, organizations should:

  • Assess efficiencies and processes in Form 990 and Form 990-T reporting
  • Review alternative investments for potential unrelated business income tax and foreign filing obligations
  • Capture available credits and deductions to reduce federal and state tax liabilities
  • Ensure compliance with state tax matters and payroll requirements for the organization’s mobile workforce
  • Verify compliance for international programs and a foreign workforce

Pension trusts

Tax-exempt pension trusts encounter various challenges including:

  • Increased complexity of investment types and structures within investment portfolios
  • Continued investments on an international level and resulting reporting and filing obligations
  • Compliance with highly complex tax reporting rules, such as for passive activity income and income from publicly traded partnerships

Ideas for effective strategies are:

  • Efficiencies in investment tracking process and reporting
  • Reviewing alternative investments for potential federal/state unrelated business income tax and foreign/informational filing obligations
  • Understanding income reporting rules specific to tax-exempt trusts

Private foundations

Tax-exempt private foundations have unique challenges such as:

  • Complex tax laws that affect all aspects of operation and may trigger significant excise taxes
  • Pressure to expand activities beyond traditional grant-making to public charities
  • Generational shifts related to the key family founder or corporate executive sponsor

To improve foundation planning consider:

  • Training and knowledge regarding private foundation laws and common missteps
  • Practices to manage risk and improve goodwill and public exposure
  • Understanding how to implement the organization’s philanthropic vision within the optimal charitable vehicle

Navigating the Form 990 and Form 990-T

Most organizations exempt from income tax must report on Form 990 their exempt and other activities, finances, governance, compliance with certain federal tax filings and requirements, and compensation paid to certain persons. Likewise, they must report on Form 990-T unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) and the resulting tax liability, claim certain refunds, and request credits for certain taxes paid.

For most organizations, both Form 990 and Form 990-T are open to public inspection, meaning that the public optics of the disclosures are as important as filing complete and accurate returns with the Internal Revenue Service. With deep experience in this space, our team can help organizations maximize the impact of their Form 990 and Form 990-T as well as ensure complete and accurate filings with the government.


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Contact us

Rob Friz

Rob Friz

Partner, NTS Exempt Organizations, Healthcare and Higher Education Leader, PwC US

Travis Patton

Travis Patton

Partner, NTS Exempt Organization Tax Services, PwC US

Gwendolyn Spencer

Gwendolyn Spencer

Partner, NTS Exempt Organization Tax Services, PwC US

Erica McReynolds

Erica McReynolds

Partner, PwC US

Laura J. Parello

Laura J. Parello

Managing Director, Exempt Organization Tax Services, PwC US

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