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Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Senate Pushes for More Disclosure by Colleges in Form 990

Interesting article in today's Inside Higher Ed:  Open the Blinds, by Doug Lederman:

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee have urged the U.S. treasury secretary to change the federal tax form that many tax-exempt entities file each year, with the goal of ramping up scrutiny of the complex financial operations of private nonprofit colleges and hospitals. The letter from Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) offers some new insights — worrisome to college tax experts — into the senators’ interest in the possibility of penalizing institutions that are perceived as spending too small a proportion of their endowment assets.

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So, Harvard would have to dip into its $20 billion???


Posted by: Sandy P | May 30, 2007 2:27:08 PM

Note that Form 990 is filed by tax-exempt institutions, not because they are not-for-profit. The two things don't always go together. For example, CREF (as in TIAA-CREF), a New York State Type B Not-For-Profit, was no longer required to file a Form 990 after they lost their tax-exemption in 1997. TIAA is regulated as an insurance company, so relatively little sunshine falls on information filed with, but protected by the NY State Department of Insurance.

Posted by: Tim | Jun 3, 2007 8:50:36 AM