Returning homeschool co-op supplies to parents

Carol,
How should our homeschool co-op should handle classes where there are nonconsumable items purchased?  We had a class where Lego kits were purchased for a class.  Students shared kits and we charged a small fee.  Now parents think they should get half of the kits or that future classes should have to pay for the kits and they receive a credit each time.
We have never done that with any classes in the past.  It has always just become property of the co-op.  It sounds like it would be a bookkeeping nightmare.
Thanks for your input,
Becky  in KY

Becky,

You’re right, tracking the LEGO kits sound like a bookkeeping nightmare.  I like to keep things simple but as fair as possible.

We had a similar situation in my homeschool co-op with Spanish books.  The teacher bought a curriculum to use and was planning on spreading out the cost of the teacher manuals and CDs over two years of students. It took some guess work to figure out how many students she would have this year as well as future years.  In the end we decided  that this year’s students would end up paying for a portion of the teachers books and CDs.  The rest of the cost was absorbed by the co-op as a whole. The co-op then owned the teacher books and CDs. Future Spanish classes were charged a small supply fee so that the co-op could recoup the cost of the teachers books and CDs.

I think the co-op should own non consumables, not the individual parents. Sounds like that’s how you have done it in the past. Parents pay a supply fee, but are not entitled to the equipment afterward nor a credit from future students.

So maybe instead of charging the current students full price for nonconsumables, your co-op could try to save up some money over a few years and purchase nonconsumable equipment that will be owned by the co-op. Or have a fundraiser to buy the equipment.

Carol Topp, CPA

A meeting agenda will keep your homeschool board on track

 

Do your homeschool meetings last forever and wander off topic? Maybe an agenda will help!

In her new Board Members Manual, Carol Topp offers tips on running a board meeting and creating an agenda. She shares those tips on today’s podcast (10 minutes)

In the podcast I mentioned the new Board Manual for homeschool organizations. I think you’ll find it helpful to organize your board and run your homeschool organization successfully!

Read more about the Homeschool Organization Board Manual

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Is a surplus added to next year’s budget?

Carol,
When does extra money from the previous year’s budget get added into the new year’s budget? Our treasurer  dumped all the leftover money from our prior year into the new year. I am pretty sure that isn’t supposed to happen. The way she has it, it looks as though we have $1,200 more to spend in next year than we really do.
Am I right to think that we have to base our budget with just dues that we hope to get in the coming year?
Angela

 

Angela,

Technically, a surplus (leftover money) never gets added to the next year’s budget. The surplus stays in your checking account (as an asset) and is reflected on the Balance Sheet (as the balance in the checking account), not as part of next years’ revenues.

In accounting we have two major financial statements: the Statement of Revenues and Expense (sometimes called Profit and Loss) and the Balance sheet which shows what you own (the assets) and what you owe (the liabilities).

Of course your board should have a plan for your surplus. Maybe it stays as an emergency fund or as the deductible on your insurance policy or is accumulated for a big future purchase (like equipment or a building). Some boards like to have the treasurer put a footnote on the Balance Sheet about money is kept in reserve and it’s purpose, so it doesn’t get spent. Or they move some money into a saving account, so it is less likely to be spent.

Something like this:

Balance Sheet as of DATE
Assets
Checking Account $5,400.00
Savings Account* $1,550.00
Total Assets $6,950.00

*Savings set aside for:
Emergency fund: $1,000
Insurance deductible: $500
Saving for science equipment: $50

“Am I right to think that we have to base our budget with just dues that we hope to get in the coming year?” I think that is wise fiscal management to live within your means each year.

My book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization would be very helpful to your treasurer.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com

Keep your homeschool organization’s important papers in a board binder

 

Can you find your homeschool organization’s bylaws or organizing documents quickly?

Nonprofit leaders should keep their organization’s important papers in a binder.

This short podcast episode (15 minutes) from Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, will discuss what important papers need to be in your board binder.

 

In the podcast I mentioned the new Board Manual for homeschool organizations. I think you’ll find it helpful to organize your board and run your homeschool organization successfully!

Read more about the Homeschool Organization Board Manual

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Save

Save

Save

Save

Background checks for homeschool organizations

A homeschool leader on the Homeschool-Life Leaders Forum asked,

Could you share what companies you use to do background checks for your organization?

 

Here are some of the companies that homeschool groups use for doing background checks on employees and volunteers:

Protectmyministry.com

We have used ClearStar.net for several years. They charge $7.95 for a basic criminal background check. Our members can fill in their own information, so we don’t have to deal with paperwork and shredding personal information.

We use Federal Background Services. very reasonable and efficient

My co-op uses SecureSearchPro.com. They charge us about $14/check. They customized our background search to fit our specific needs. They bill us on a monthly basis. I really like them, they are easy to use, members fill out an online form so I never have to gather their personal information.

 

Many states now require background checks on any individuals working with children. You church host may require background checks as well. So the companies mentioned above may be very helpful to you in running your homeschool programs.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Helping homeschool leaders

Homeschool Organization Board Manual is ready (and beautiful!)

I’ve been thinking about creating a homeschool board member manual for several years. Well, 2017 is the year it happened!

I am pleased to offer this helpful (and beautiful) Homeschool Organization Board Manual.


This manual is a customizable template for you to create your own board member manuals.

It has pages that act as dividers for separate sections of the manual like this page that lists important legal documents you should have in your binder:

And then I’ve created helpful tools like a calendar of meetings, list of board members and a sample meeting agenda:

 

And then I got carried away and created a huge amount of other information. The Homeschool Organization Board Manual is 55 pages.

It’s like a board training guide.

The additional information has articles on

  • board duties
  • job descriptions
  • how to read financial statements
  • a list of best financial practices
  • an article from HSLDA attorney Darren Jones on “Developing a Child Protection Policy”
  • and more.

 

 

All this is to help your board get organized, trained and ready to run a successful homeschool organization!

Best of all, this Homeschool Organization Board Manual is customizable! It is delivered to you as a Word document, so your homeschool group can put their name and year on the cover, type specific information in the document, and print out pages for each bard member!

And it’s beautiful! Homeschool mom, Tara Mitchell did the graphic design for me so it’s lovely to look at too!

And it’s very affordable! $9.95.

You only order one copy for your organization and then I give you permission to print off as many copies as you need for each board member!


Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Save

Save

Save

How can we change the contact name on our EIN?

 

When your homeschool group applied for an Employer Identification Number with the IRS, you had to give a responsible party’s name and their Social Security Number. Now that person is stepping down from your homeschool board.

How do you change the responsible party’s name on your EIN? Carol Topp, CPA explains how in this short podcast (9.5 minutes).

In the podcast, I mentioned Money Management in a Homeschool Organization. It’s a guide for homeschool treasurers that you may find helpful.

Carol Topp, CPA

Save

Save

Save

Save

Homeschooling and Happy Birthday USA!

Happy Birthday to the United States of America!

I am very appreciative of the freedom we have in the USA to homeschool our children.

I had my eyes opened recently at the National Conference for Homeschool Leaders sponsored by HSLDA that 90% of the world’s homeschoolers are in the United States.

Take a look at how many places in the world where homeschooling is illegal. It might surprise you:

Germany: Homeschooling is illegal, public or approved private education is mandatory
Greece: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.
Liechtenstein: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.
Netherlands: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.
Sweden: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.
Guatemala: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.
El Salvador: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.
Brazil: Homeschooling is illegal, public education is mandatory without known exceptions.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling_international_status_and_statistics (accessed June 19, 2017)

I’ve very happy to be living in the USA and enjoyed my freedom to homeschool.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Save

Save

How Do I Get a Tax Exempt Number?

How does a nonprofit get tax exempt number from the IRS? They don’t!

In this short podcast Carol Topp CPA explains tax ID numbers and the various state agencies that may assign tax numbers.

Listen to the podcast (9 1/2 minutes)

FEATURED PRODUCT from HomeschoolCPA:

State Filings for Non-Profits

You’re not finished with paperwork when you receive tax exemption from the IRS. Your state may have several required forms for you to file as well. Carol Topp, CPA can help your homeschool nonprofit understand what forms to file with your state.

Click Here to request more information!

Save

Don’t tell the IRS your homeschool group is a private foundation (if it’s not).

upset_womansquare

Oh this is a sad, sad story.

I’ve seen this twice recently: a homeschool group prepares their own 501(c)(3) application (Form 1023 or 1023-EZ) with the IRS and incorrectly tells the IRS they are a private foundation.

Homeschool co-ops or other nonprofit educational programs are not private foundations. Private foundations are charitable organizations that are funded by an individual, family, or corporation, like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Homeschool organizations are public charities, serving the public good (the education of children). Both of these homeschool organizations didn’t think of themselves as charities. They misunderstood that the IRS uses the word charity to include educational organizations. They also didn’t think of themselves as “public,” because they didn’t not understand the IRS use of that word.

The IRS means serving a public good and being supported financially by the “public” (meaning lots of people) but that does not mean you have to open your doors to the general public! You may still have an application process and limit your membership or participation to your programs.

I spend a lot of time with my nonprofit clients explaining the IRS terms and proper classification, but neither of these organizations hired me to prepare their Form 1023/1023-EZ. Neither of them even asked for a phone consultation or for me to look over the application before sending it to the IRS.

Now they have a real mess on their hands.

They have to file an IRS form to change their status. This requires providing financial statements, explanations, and supporting documents and IRS fees.  Meanwhile, they have to be filing a Form 990-PF, which is quite complex. You need an experienced CPA to prepare a 990-PF.

This is going to be expensive and time consuming. It will probably cost hundreds of dollars in IRS and CPA fees to get it straightened out.

Sad, sad, sad…

Carol Topp, CPA

Helping homeschool leaders with tax and legal compliance

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save