26 CFR 53.4944-3 - Exception for program-related investments.

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§ 53.4944-3 Exception for program-related investments.

(a) In general.

(1) For purposes of section 4944 and §§ 53.4944-1 through 53.4944-6, a “program-related investment” shall not be classified as an investment which jeopardizes the carrying out of the exempt purposes of a private foundation. A program-related investment is an investment which possesses the following characteristics:

(i) The primary purpose of the investment is to accomplish one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B);

(ii) No significant purpose of the investment is the production of income or the appreciation of property; and

(iii) No purpose of the investment is to accomplish one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(D).

(2)

(i) An investment shall be considered as made primarily to accomplish one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B) if it significantly furthers the accomplishment of the private foundation's exempt activities and if the investment would not have been made but for such relationship between the investment and the accomplishment of the foundation's exempt activities. For purposes of section 4944 and §§ 53.4944-1 through 53.4944-6, the term purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B) shall be treated as including purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B) whether or not carried out by organizations described in section 170(c).

(ii) An investment in an activity described in section 4942(j)(4)(B) and the regulations thereunder shall be considered, for purposes of this paragraph, as made primarily to accomplish one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B).

(iii) In determining whether a significant purpose of an investment is the production of income or the appreciation of property, it shall be relevant whether investors solely engaged in the investment for profit would be likely to make the investment on the same terms as the private foundation. However, the fact that an investment produces significant income or capital appreciation shall not, in the absence of other factors, be conclusive evidence of a significant purpose involving the production of income or the appreciation of property.

(iv) An investment shall not be considered as made to accomplish one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(D) if the recipient of the investment appears before, or communicates to, any legislative body with respect to legislation or proposed legislation of direct interest to such recipient, provided that the expense of engaging in such activities would qualify as a deduction under section 162.

(3)

(i) Once it has been determined that an investment is “program-related” it shall not cease to qualify as a “program-related investment” provided that changes, if any, in the form or terms of the investment are made primarily for exempt purposes and not for any significant purpose involving the production of income or the appreciation of property. A change made in the form or terms of a program-related investment for the prudent protection of the foundation's investment shall not ordinarily cause the investment to cease to qualify as program-related. Under certain conditions, a program-related investment may cease to be program-related because of a critical change in circumstances, as, for example, where it is serving an illegal purpose or the private purpose of the foundation or its managers. For purposes of the preceding sentence, an investment which ceases to be program-related because of a critical change in circumstances shall in no event subject the foundation making the investment to the tax imposed by section 4944(a)(1) before the 30th day after the date on which such foundation (or any of its managers) has actual knowledge of such critical change in circumstances.

(ii) If a private foundation changes the form or terms of an investment, and if, as a result of the application of subdivision (i) of this subparagraph, such investment no longer qualifies as program-related, the determination whether the investment jeopardizes the carrying out of exempt purposes shall be made pursuant to the provisions of § 53.4944-1(a)(2).

(b) Examples. The provisions of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
X is a small business enterprise located in a deteriorated urban area and owned by members of an economically disadvantaged minority group. Conventional sources of funds are unwilling or unable to provide funds to X on terms it considers economically feasible. Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X bearing interest below the market rate for commercial loans of comparable risk. Y's primary purpose for making the loan is to encourage the economic development of such minority groups. The loan has no significant purpose involving the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment even though Y may earn income from the investment in an amount comparable to or higher than earnings from conventional portfolio investments.
Example 2.
Assume the facts as stated in Example (1), except that after the date of execution of the loan Y extends the due date of the loan. The extension is granted in order to permit X to achieve greater financial stability before it is required to repay the loan. Since the change in the terms of the loan is made primarily for exempt purposes and not for any significant purpose involving the production of income or the appreciation of property, the loan shall continue to qualify as a program-related investment.
Example 3.
X is a small business enterprise located in a deteriorated urban area and owned by members of an economically disadvantaged minority group. Conventional sources of funds are unwilling to provide funds to X at reasonable interest rates unless it increases the amount of its equity capital. Consequently, Y, a private foundation, purchases shares of X's common stock. Y's primary purpose in purchasing the stock is to encourage the economic development of such minority group, and no significant purpose involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The investment significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the investment and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the purchase of the common stock is a program-related investment, even though Y may realize a profit if X is successful and the common stock appreciates in value.
Example 4.
X is a business enterprise which is not owned by low-income persons or minority group members, but the continued operation of X is important to the economic well-being of a deteriorated urban area because X employes a substantial number of low-income persons from such area. Conventional sources of funds are unwilling or unable to provide funds to X at reasonable interest rates. Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X at an interest rate below the market rate for commercial loans of comparable risk. The loan is made pursuant to a program run by Y to assist low-income persons by providing increased economic opportunities and to prevent community deterioration. No significant purpose of the loan involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The investment significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment.
Example 5.
X is a business enterprise which is financially secure and the stock of which is listed and traded on a national exchange. Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X at an interest rate below the market rate in order to induce X to establish a new plant in a deteriorated urban area which, because of the high risks involved, X would be unwilling to establish absent such inducement. The loan is made pursuant to a program run by Y to enhance the economic development of the area by, for example, providing employment opportunities for low-income persons at the new plant, and no significant purpose involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, even though X is large and established, the investment is program-related.
Example 6.
X is a business enterprise which is owned by a nonprofit community development corporation. When fully operational, X will market agricultural products, thereby providing a marketing outlet for low-income farmers in a depressed rural area. Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X bearing interest at a rate less than the rate charged by financial institutions which have agreed to lend funds to X if Y makes the loan. The loan is made pursuant to a program run by Y to encourage economic redevelopment of depressed areas, and no significant purpose involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment.
Example 7.
X, a private foundation, invests $100,000 in the common stock of corporation M. The dividends received from such investment are later applied by X in furtherance of its exempt purposes. Although there is a relationship between the return on the investment and the accomplishment of X's exempt activities, there is no relationship between the investment per se and such accomplishment. Therefore, the investment cannot be considered as made primarily to accomplish one or more of the purposes described in section 170(c)(2)(B) and cannot qualify as program-related.
Example 8.
S, a private foundation, makes an investment in T, a business corporation, which qualifies as a program-related investment under section 4944(c) at the time that it is made. All of T's voting stock is owned by S. T experiences financial and management problems which, in the judgment of the foundation, require changes in management, in financial structure or in the form of the investment. The following three methods of resolving the problems appear feasible to S, but each of the three methods would result in reduction of the exempt purposes for which the program-related investment was initially made:

(a) Sale of stock or assets. The foundation sells its stock to an unrelated person. Payment is made in part at the time of sale; the balance is payable over an extended term of years with interest on the amount outstanding. The foundation receives a purchase-money mortgage.

(b) Lease. The corporation leases its assets for a term of years to an unrelated person, with an option in the lessee to buy the assets. If the option is exercised, the terms of payment are to be similar to those described in (a) of this example.

(c) Management contract. The corporation enters into a management contract which gives broad operating authority to one or more unrelated persons for a term of years. The foundation and the unrelated persons are obligated to contribute toward working capital requirements. The unrelated persons will be compensated by a fixed fee or a share of profits, and they will receive an option to buy the stock held by S or the assets of the corporation. If the option is exercised, the terms of payment are to be similar to those described in (a) of this example.

Each of the three methods involves a change in the form or terms of a program-related investment for the prudent protection of the foundation's investment. Thus, under § 53.4944-3(a)(3)(i), none of the three transactions (nor any debt instruments or other obligations held by S as a result of engaging in one of these transactions) would cause the investment to cease to qualify as program-related.
Example 9.
X is a socially and economically disadvantaged individual. Y, a private foundation, makes an interest-free loan to X for the primary purpose of enabling X to attend college. The loan has no significant purpose involving the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment.
Example 10.
Y, a private foundation, makes a high-risk investment in low-income housing, the indebtedness with respect to which is insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Y's primary purpose in making the investment is to finance the purchase, rehabilitation, and construction of housing for low-income persons. The investment has no significant purpose involving the production of income or the appreciation of property. The investment significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the investment and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the investment is program-related.
Example 11.
X is a business enterprise that researches and develops new drugs. X's research demonstrates that a vaccine can be developed within ten years to prevent a disease that predominantly affects poor individuals in developing countries. However, neither X nor other commercial enterprises like X will devote their resources to develop the vaccine because the potential return on investment is significantly less than required by X or other commercial enterprises to undertake a project to develop new drugs. Y, a private foundation, enters into an investment agreement with X in order to induce X to develop the vaccine. Pursuant to the investment agreement, Y purchases shares of the common stock of S, a subsidiary corporation that X establishes to research and develop the vaccine. The agreement requires S to distribute the vaccine to poor individuals in developing countries at a price that is affordable to the affected population, although, the agreement does not preclude S from selling the vaccine to other individuals at a market rate. The agreement also requires S to publish the research results, disclosing substantially all information about the results that would be useful to the interested public. S agrees that the publication of its research results will be made as promptly after the completion of the research as is reasonably possible without jeopardizing S's right to secure patents necessary to protect its ownership or control of the results of the research. The expected rate of return on Y's investment in S is less than the expected market rate of return for an investment of similar risk. Y's primary purpose in making the investment is to fund scientific research in the public interest. No significant purpose of the investment involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The investment significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the investment and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, Y's purchase of the common stock of S is a program-related investment.
Example 12.
Q, a developing country, produces a substantial amount of recyclable solid waste materials that are currently disposed of in landfills and by incineration, contributing significantly to environmental deterioration in Q. X is a new business enterprise located in Q. X's only activity will be collecting recyclable solid waste materials in Q and delivering those materials to recycling centers that are inaccessible to a majority of the population. If successful, the recycling collection business would prevent pollution in Q caused by the usual disposition of solid waste materials. X has obtained funding from only a few commercial investors who are concerned about the environmental impact of solid waste disposal. Although X made substantial efforts to procure additional funding, X has not been able to obtain sufficient funding because the expected rate of return is significantly less than the acceptable rate of return on an investment of this type. Because X has been unable to attract additional investors on the same terms as the initial investors, Y, a private foundation, enters into an investment agreement with X to purchase shares of X's common stock on the same terms as X's initial investors. Although there is a high risk associated with the investment in X, there is also the potential for a high rate of return if X is successful in the recycling business in Q. Y's primary purpose in making the investment is to combat environmental deterioration. No significant purpose of the investment involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The investment significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the investment and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, Y's purchase of the X common stock is a program-related investment.
Example 13.
Assume the facts as stated in Example 12, except that X offers Y shares of X's common stock in order to induce Y to make a below-market rate loan to X. X previously made the same offer to a number of commercial investors. These investors were unwilling to provide loans to X on such terms because the expected return on the combined package of stock and debt was below the expected market return for such a package based on the level of risk involved, and they were also unwilling to provide loans on other terms X considers economically feasible. Y accepts the stock and makes the loan on the same terms that X offered to the commercial investors. Y's primary purpose in making the investment is to combat environmental deterioration. No significant purpose of the investment involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The investment significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the investment and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan accompanied by the acceptance of common stock is a program-related investment.
Example 14.
X is a business enterprise located in V, a rural area in State Z. X employs a large number of poor individuals in V. A natural disaster occurs in V, causing significant damage to the area. The business operations of X are harmed because of damage to X's equipment and buildings. X has insufficient funds to continue its business operations and conventional sources of funds are unwilling or unable to provide loans to X on terms it considers economically feasible. In order to enable X to continue its business operations, Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X bearing interest below the market rate for commercial loans of comparable risk. Y's primary purpose in making the loan is to provide relief to the poor and distressed. No significant purpose of the loan involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment.
Example 15.
Y, a private foundation, makes loans bearing interest below the market rate for commercial loans of comparable risk to poor individuals who live in W, a developing country, to enable them to start small businesses such as a roadside fruit stand. Conventional sources of funds were unwilling or unable to provide such loans on terms they consider economically feasible. Y's primary purpose in making the loans is to provide relief to the poor and distressed. No significant purpose of the loans involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loans significantly further the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loans and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loans to the poor individuals who live in W are program-related investments.
Example 16.
X is a limited liability company treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes. X purchases coffee from poor farmers residing in a developing country, either directly or through farmer-owned cooperatives. To fund the provision of efficient water management, crop cultivation, pest management, and farm management training to the poor farmers by X, Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X bearing interest below the market rate for commercial loans of comparable risk. The loan agreement requires X to use the proceeds from the loan to provide the training to the poor farmers. X would not provide such training to the poor farmers absent the loan. Y's primary purpose in making the loan is to educate poor farmers about advanced agricultural methods. No significant purpose of the loan involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment.
Example 17.
X is a social welfare organization that is recognized as an organization described in section 501(c)(4). X was formed to develop and encourage interest in painting, sculpture, and other art forms by, among other things, conducting weekly community art exhibits. X needs to purchase a large exhibition space to accommodate the demand for exhibition space within the community. Conventional sources of funds are unwilling or unable to provide funds to X on terms it considers economically feasible. Y, a private foundation, makes a loan to X at an interest rate below the market rate for commercial loans of comparable risk to fund the purchase of the new space. Y's primary purpose in making the loan is to promote the arts. No significant purpose of the loan involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The loan significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the loan and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the loan is a program-related investment.
Example 18.
X is a non-profit corporation that provides child care services in a low-income neighborhood, enabling many residents of the neighborhood to be gainfully employed. X meets the requirements of section 501(k) and is recognized as an organization described in section 501(c)(3). X's current child care facility has reached capacity and has a long waiting list. X has determined that the demand for its services warrants the construction of a new child care facility in the same neighborhood. X is unable to obtain a loan from conventional sources of funds including B, a commercial bank because of X's credit record. Pursuant to a deposit agreement, Y, a private foundation, deposits $h in B, and B lends an identical amount to X to construct the new child care facility. The deposit agreement requires Y to keep $h on deposit with B during the term of X's loan and provides that if X defaults on the loan, B may deduct the amount of the default from the deposit. To facilitate B's access to the funds in the event of default, the agreement requires that the funds be invested in instruments that allow B to access them readily. The deposit agreement also provides that Y will earn interest at a rate of t% on the deposit. The t% rate is substantially less than Y could otherwise earn on this sum of money, if Y invested it elsewhere. The loan agreement between B and X requires X to use the proceeds from the loan to construct the new child care facility. Y's primary purpose in making the deposit is to further its educational purposes by enabling X to provide child care services within the meaning of section 501(k). No significant purpose of the deposit involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The deposit significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the deposit and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the deposit is a program-related investment.
Example 19.
Assume the same facts as stated in Example 18, except that instead of making a deposit of $h into B, Y enters into a guarantee agreement with B. The guarantee agreement provides that if X defaults on the loan, Y will repay the balance due on the loan to B. B was unwilling to make the loan to X in the absence of Y's guarantee. X must use the proceeds from the loan to construct the new child care facility. At the same time, X and Y enter into a reimbursement agreement whereby X agrees to reimburse Y for any and all amounts paid to B under the guarantee agreement. The signed guarantee and reimbursement agreements together constitute a “guarantee and reimbursement arrangement.” Y's primary purpose in entering into the guarantee and reimbursement arrangement is to further Y's educational purposes. No significant purpose of the guarantee and reimbursement arrangement involves the production of income or the appreciation of property. The guarantee and reimbursement arrangement significantly furthers the accomplishment of Y's exempt activities and would not have been made but for such relationship between the guarantee and reimbursement arrangement and Y's exempt activities. Accordingly, the guarantee and reimbursement arrangement is a program-related investment.

(c) Effective/applicability date. Paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) and (b), Examples 11 through 19 of this section, apply on or after April 25, 2016.

[T.D. 7240, 37 FR 28747, Dec. 27, 1972, as amended by T.D. 9762, 81 FR 24017, Apr. 25, 2016]

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United States Code

Title 26 published on 2015-04-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 26 CFR Part 53 after this date.

  • 2015-09-25; vol. 80 # 186 - Friday, September 25, 2015
    1. 80 FR 57709 - Reliance Standards for Making Good Faith Determinations
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Internal Revenue Service
      Final regulations.
      Effective date: These regulations are effective on September 25, 2015. Applicability date: For the dates of applicability, see §§ 53.4942(a)-3(f) and 53.4945-5(f)(3).
      26 CFR Part 53