We Changed Leaders: Who Do We Notify?

 

Have you changed leaders in your homeschool organization?

In this short podcast episode (12 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, will  explain what government agencies you need to notify when you change your address or change leaders. She explains the forms and organizations you need to notify.

 

In the podcast, Carol mentioned a board manual temple for your homeschool group

Homeschool board  members should keep all their organization’s important papers in a safe and accessible place. Usually, a 3-ring binder works well.

Author and homeschool advisor, Carol Topp, CPA, has created a Homeschool Organization Board Manual. It is a template to create a board member binder. It has:

  • A list of important documents to keep in your binder
  • Section dividers so you can organize the important papers
  • Tools to help you run your meetings smoothly including
  • A sample agenda that you can use over and over again
  • A calendar of board meetings

 

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Homeschool co-op drop-off policies


Homeschool-life the popular website hosting service for homeschool groups as a Leaders Forum. (If you’re a leader you can join the forum here) Recently a question about co-op drop off policies was asked.

Does anyone run a home school co-op that has a drop off policy?  

Do you have any tips that make it successful?

The forum members were full of advice.

Melissa said:
“In our group a parent may only drop off for an activity if they have made an arrangement ahead of time with another parent in the group be in charge of their child for that day/time/activity.  So if there is a injury, behavior issue or other need, it’s addressed by the parent who has volunteered to be assigned to this child. Our group is not huge (20 families) but this has worked out so far.”

BeckiJo wrote:
“We are primarily a drop-off co-op. Parents are not required to teach or assist in classes, but they are required to volunteer 6 times a year or pay a maintenance fee. Children under 10 are required to have a parent or other responsible adult present to help them move between classes and supervise the child during free time and lunch. We have made a few exceptions due to special circumstances. Some of those exceptions have worked out, others have been more difficult. We have not had any difficulty with our students 11 and older acting responsibly. We have volunteers that monitor lunch time which is our busiest time.

“We have actually found that we have a wonderful community of parents and students. The parents who stay with their younger students have built friendships and have been able to support and help each other. We have many parents of older students who stay for part or all of the day because of distance, enjoying the community, also working with their students during free time.

“We have just completed our co-op year, my first in leadership. One my blessings this year has been the opportunity to watch the sense of community build in our co-op, something that has been missing in the past.”

Sarah shared,
We do have a successful drop off program. It is approved on a case by case basis. It is usually older students. We have found it to be mutually beneficial because we charge a fee for this privilege. Our drop-off fee is $35 per student, per class.The money from these drop offs is then used towards events/programming that benefits everyone involved. We have had elementary students involved all the way up to high school but they were screened and would not have been allowed to continue if they had behavior issues.

Melissa wrote,
Our enrichment classes are all drop off except that we require one volunteer hour per week and one cleaning day per semester. Parents are welcome to stay but there’s not a specific spot for them to be. We have forms to fill out and code of conduct forms for parents and students. It’s all worked out for the 20+ years our group has been doing it.

Another leader shared,
We also have returned to a no drop-off policy. We did allow what we called independent students to attend for a while. They had to be high school aged.  The hope was that we could fill more seats in our high school classes. But the reality was we just needed to have more parents on site to work in classrooms as teachers and assistants. The kids were very well behaved and we wish we could still have an opportunity to have them in classes, but there needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship between co-op and families. I would never consider drop-offs for younger students. Too many obstacles and challenges for simple unpaid volunteers.

Melissa P. wrote,
Our co-op used to allow drop offs for children ages 13 and up. We stopped allowing it, because it diminished the sense of community among moms. There were also some behavior issues which would have been better able to be addressed with a parent on campus.

We make exceptions for emergency circumstances, and have a sign-out sheet, which requires another mom to be present with the children and responsible for them. A mother’s illness would be included in that. Mothers who have chronic illnesses are not, as we feel that we support a whole family, and a parent who is never in attendance is difficult to support.

Our decision was based on us wanting to diminish the feeling that we were a school, and remain true to our roots as a cooperative support group. It’s not always a popular choice for the parents, but we decided that we preferred our membership to be those who want community, not those who simply want classes.

As a consideration, your insurance may not cover you if parents are not on campus. In our state, if parents drop off, it creates a school/daycare situation, which has other licensing requirements.

Kimberly said,
As a rule, my co-op does not allow drop-offs. We do make exceptions, using a pre-authorized form, that gives us all the parental location, phone number info and the adult at the co-op who is responsible for the child. In the case of an emergency, there needs to be an acknowledged adult responsible for the child.

 

So as you see these are lots of ideas for drop-off students at your co-op. There does seem to be a consensus that a drop-off program should be for older students, not younger ones.

Carol Topp, CPA

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Giving Scholarships or Discounts in Your Homeschool Group

Does your homeschool group give discounts, scholarships or benevolent gifts?

What’s the difference and how should they be operated?

Homeschool CPA, Carol Topp, offers advice and tips on offering help for needy members in this short podcast episode (15minutes).

 

 

I mentioned my book

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

  • Does your homeschool group manage their money well?
  • Do you have a budget and know where the money is spent?
  • Do you know how to prevent fraud?

This 115 page book will help you to open a checking account, establish a budget, prevent mistakes and fraud, use software to keep the books, prepare a financial statement and hire workers. Sample forms and examples of financial statements in clear English are provided.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Pins to help homeschool leaders

I love Pinterest! Do you?

I have a Pinterest page with 55 boards and over 2,000! Yikes. I shocked myself when I counted them all!

The board you’d probably be interested in as a homeschool leader is the

Helps for Homeschool Leaders board

There you will find links to my podcast episodes, my blog posts and my books.

Hop on over there and follow me so you can stay up on my HomeschoolCPA blog posts and podcasts.

And feel free to save, share or and repin any pins you find helpful. If you like it, chances are another homeschool leader will benefit too!

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com and Pinterest lover!

P.S. Check out my other boards to see what I do when I’m not helping homeschool leaders (I paint watercolor and crochet and travel a bit!)

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Paying Volunteers Q&A with Homeschool Leaders

 

Can you pay a volunteer?

This short podcast episode (15minutes) from Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, is the last excerpt from the Homeschool Leaders Retreat held in Indiana.

Carol Topp discusses how to pay (or thank) a volunteer and paying teachers in a homeschool co-op without causing tax problems for your volunteers (or your church host).

 

I mentioned my book

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization

Are you paying workers in your homeschool organization?

  • Can a volunteer be paid?
  • Should a worker be treated as an employee or independent contractor?
  • Do you know the difference?

Homeschool leader and CPA, Carol Topp, has the answers to your questions in her book Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization.

This 130 page book covers paying workers as employees or independent contractors. There are also chapters on paying volunteers and board members. It includes sample forms, tips and advice to help you pay workers in accordance with the IRS laws to help your organization pay their workers correctly. Written specifically for homeschool organizations.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Is there a difference between a 501c3 and an association?

Carol,
Is there a difference between a 501c3 and an association?
T.W.

T.W.,
501(c)(3) is a tax exempt status granted by the IRS to qualified nonprofit organizations (most of them are nonprofit corporations) whose purposes include charity, religious, and educational (and a few other purposes).

The word “association” does not have a specific legal definition. Associations are a gathering of people for a cause. Associations are typically nonprofit organizations. They can be unincorporated or be formed as nonprofit corporations.

Some associations may qualify for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, some may not. For example I am a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs. It is a business association for CPAs in Ohio. It has tax exempt status as a 501(c)(6) business league, but not 501(c)(3) status.

If you’re confused by the words, nonprofit, association, 501(c)(3), this short video may help clear things up:

 

I hope that helps,

Carol Topp, CPA

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Tax Exempt Q&A with Homeschool Leaders

 

Have questions about tax exempt status for your homeschool group?

This short podcast episode (16 minutes) from Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA,  is an excerpt from the Indiana Homeschool Leaders Retreat. Carol Topp discusses tax exempt status and answers questions from homeschool leaders about self-declaring tax exempt status for your homeschool support group.

 

 

In the podcast I mentioned my book

The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group need to pay taxes? Could they avoid paying taxes by being a 501c3 tax exempt organization? Do you know the pros and cons of 501c3 status? Do you know what 501c3 status could mean for your homeschool group?

I have the answers for you in my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. The information I share in my book has been helpful to homeschool support groups, co-ops, music and sports groups and will help you understand:

  • The benefits of 501c3 status
  • The disadvantages too!
  • What it takes to make the IRS happy
  • What your state requires
  • Why your organization should consider becoming a nonprofit corporation
  • What is the difference between nonprofit incorporation and tax exemption
  • IRS requirements after you are tax exempt

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Can our homeschool group get sued if we’re not a recognized nonprofit?

Carol,
We are a Christian homeschool group and co-op. The church that hosts our co-op classes is concerned with the possibility of us getting sued if we are not a recognized non-profit.  We are comprised of like-minded believers for a specific cause.  Can you comment on this?

TW

 

TW,

I usually recommend nonprofit incorporation to protect the leaders and members of a homeschool organization.

Nothing can stop a lawsuit, but forming as a corporation means the liability is limited to the corporation’s assets and it protects the personal assets of the leaders and members from the lawsuit damages.

Unfortunately, being like-minded does not mean you’re immune from lawsuits. One group told me that a co-op member’s health insurance sued the homeschool group for medical bills when a child was injured while at co-op. The co-op member did not bring the lawsuit, her health insurance company did.

If you need more information on the benefits of nonprofit incorporation for your homeschool group, read The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. It includes a chapter on nonprofit incorporation.

I hope that helps,

Carol Topp, CPA

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Churches and Homeschool Groups

 

Some homeschool groups find it difficult to find a church host. Why is that?

This short podcast episode (16 minutes) from Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, is an excerpt from a homeschool leaders retreat held in Indiana.

Carol discusses the tenuous relationship homeschool groups have with churches who host their programs. How to keep your church happy with your group and how to keep your church out of trouble with the tax man!

 

 

In the podcast I mentioned a Facebbook group for homeschool leaders called I am a Homechool Group Leader. Fantastic group! Ask to join today.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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Do we need a new EIN for our new nonprofit corporation?

Our homeschool group already has an EIN (Employer Identification Number), but we recently decided to work toward 501c3 status. We are now incorporated.
Do we need a new EIN or can we just change the name on the one we have?

-Kellie

The IRS, who issues EINs, makes it clear that you need a new EIN when you form a new nonprofit corporation.

You will be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true.

  • A corporation receives a new charter from the secretary of state.

Source:

You can get a new EIN online, but it’s helpful to look over the Form SS-4 so you know what questions will be asked.

Carol Topp, CPA

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