Hosting an Introduction to Homeschooling Event

 

Homeschool leader Melissa Robb doesn’t just care about her group’s members, she also helps the public by leading introduction to homeschooling sessions! This is a terrific idea that I wish every homeschool group did.

In this short podcast episode (12 minutes) Melissa explains why her homeschool group, ENRICH in Rhode Island devotes time to these information events and how they benefit her group and homeschooling in general.

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and not Burn Out
Have you ever thought about starting a homeschool co-op like Becky did? Are you afraid it will be too much work? Do you think you’ll have to do it all by yourself? Starting a homeschool co-op can be easy! This book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out will give you ideas, inspiration, tips, wisdom and the tools you need to start a homeschool co-op, run it and not burn out!

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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We don’t want 501c3 status. Should we still include the IRS language in the Articles?

We recently formed a non-profit in Texas but do not want to file for 501c3 tax exempt status.  When we created our bylaws your site was very helpful to us.  I thought I read somewhere on your site that it is better to include the IRS 501c3 verbiage from the beginning so that if we ever decided to do that, it would already be included.

I now can not find where I thought I read that.

Do we need to include it anyway or should it be left out if we have no plans on filing 501c3?

Thanks so much,
Cathy

 

Cathy,

The IRS requires their specific language to be included in your “organizing documents.” That’s usually the Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Association if your group is not a nonprofit corporation.

This requirement is found in the IRS Instructions to the Form 1203 Application for Tax exempt Status and IRS Pub 557 Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization (p. 22)

If you have no plans to request tax exemption as a 501(c)(3) charitable or educational organization, then your Articles of Incorporation do not have to include the IRS required language.

 

But, being a CPA, I always think about money and taxes, so I will warn you that without 501 tax exempt status of some kind (501c3 or c4 or c7), your organization must be filing a corporate income tax return, IRS Form 1120, every year and paying  federal taxes on any surplus you had that year. Texas may have a corporate or franchise tax as well.

By the way, that Form 1120 can be pretty complex. You’ll probably need professional help from a CPA to prepare it. You have to prepare and submit this form every year even if you didn’t have any profit! The Form 1120 shows the IRS that you didn’t have any profit!

So, you might want to reconsider your decision not to apply for tax exempt status.

I’m happy to discuss the pros and cons of tax exempt status with your board. Contact me.

 

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com

Don’t Take Things Personally

 

Has anybody ever disappointed you? Maybe you feel personally hurt by your homeschool group members.

Homeschool leader Becky Abrams leads a homeschooling co-op in Oregon. She has learned how to avoid take things personally. It takes practice, but Becky shares some tips and a very helpful mindset (involving a bus driver) that will help you overcome disappointment.

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast (16 minutes) Becky explains:

  • How to deal with unmet expectations
  • How to avoid taking things (like a family leaving your co-op) personally
  • A great illustration about how homeschool groups are like a bus!
  • How to avoid stewing on emotional issues and disappointment
  • Why member might leave your homeschool group
  • A helpful mindset starts with controlling our thoughts

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

 

 

Phone Consultation with Carol Topp, CPA

Do you have questions about leading your homeschool organization? Carol Topp’s website, books and this podcast are a great way to learn the basics, but maybe you need advice specific to your group. Carol Topp, CPA can arrange a private phone consultations with you and your board members.

Phone Consultation: A pre-arranged phone call to discuss your questions. My most popular service for homeschool leaders. It’s like having your own homeschool expert CPA on the phone!

Cost: $75/hour to nonprofit organizations.

We can arrange a conference call so all your board members can call in from their own homes. The call can be recorded for those unable to attend.

Contact HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA, to arrange a telephone consultation.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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Should your homeschool Director serve as a board member?

Sometimes a homeschool groups gets large enough that they want to hire or pay their Director. In nonprofits that position is usually called the Executive Director or even Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

It is usually the first paid position in a nonprofit.

The Executive Director is similar to a pastor at a church. He (or she, depending on your denomination) is hired by the board of the church and does a lot of the day-to-day running of the church.

It’s similar in a homeschool nonprofit: the paid director is hired by the board to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization.

But should that hired Director serve on your board?

BoardSource (an excellent website for help in running your nonprofit board) says., ”

BoardSource also recommends nonvoting status for chief executives, unless not permitted by law. We embrace nonvoting status in recognition of the fact that actual or perceived conflicts of interest may naturally come along with the pairing of this position with board member status.

 

I, too, like the idea of a paid Director serving as a nonvoting board member.

I’ve seen it work well on some boards to have the Director attend meetings, give a report, share her opinion, etc, but not be allowed a vote.

When I served on my church’s board of trustees, the pastor came to the meeting, gave a report, was free to voice an opinion, but had no vote. That way he avoided a conflict of interest.

The paid Director should not vote because she has a conflict of interest: Is she thinking of the good of the group first and foremost or is she thinking about her job and her paycheck?

The volunteer Director does not have that conflict of interest, so he or she is usually still given voting rights.

If you decide to pay your Director:

  • Make sure you update your bylaws
  • Adopt a Conflict of Interest policy.
  • Read about paying people in your homeschool organization.

Need help with those issues?

 

My book, Homeschool Organization Board Manual can help with:

  • Sample Conflict of Interest policies
  • Sample Bylaws
  • Board descriptions
  • Compensation and Benefits for Board Members

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

 

 

California homeschool leaders: A webinar just for you!

For California homeschool leaders: I have something special for you!
A free webinar
on

Money Tips and Traps for Homeschool Organizations

Monday December 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm California time

and
Carol Topp, CPA, the HomeschoolCPA

 

The webinar is for all homeschool leaders of co-ops, support groups, CC Communities, sports, music, clubs, etc! Whether your group is large or small, new or mature, you can learn something new or improve on what you are currently doing!
The webinar will cover:
  • Tips for managing the money in your homeschool group
  • Board duties (what leaders should be doing!) concerning money
  • What financial reports California requires
  • What reports you should be filing with the IRS
  • Money traps to avoid
  • Taxes and tax exempt status
  • Paying workers
  • Avoiding errors and embezzlement

There will also be time for your questions and answers!

The webinar will be held  Monday December 3, 2018 at 6:30 pm California time
You can join my phone, PC, Mac, iphone, iPad, etc. from wherever you are!

 

The webinar is free, but you must register to be emailed the link.

 

In addition the webinar will be recorded, so be sure to register so you get the recording link emailed to you!
If you can’t attend the live webinar, still register, so you will be sent the link to view the webinar later.

 

I hope you can join me on Monday December 3, 2018  at 6:30 pm PT
Thanks to CHEA for hosing and helping put on his webinar for homeschool leaders!

 

Register today even if you can’t join us live so you will get the link to the recording.

 

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com

When someone volunteers you

 

Have you ever been volunteered by someone else?

I’ve volunteered a lot over the years, but it was my choice to volunteer.

Once I was volunteered (more like assigned) by a fellow board member to do promotion for our annual fundraiser. I was absent at the meeting where they divvied up the jobs, so when this board member called to tell me what I had been “volunteered” to do, she said, “Well, I thought you’d want to help out. Everyone else is.”

So I was volunteered and guilt-ed into it, too!

I declined, explaining that I had not experience or gifts in marketing and promotion a fundraising event.

It doesn’t feel good to be volunteered into doing something does it?

A homeschool mom emailed me to say that she teaches at a local homeschool program. The homeschool organization gives free classes to board members. That’s very generous of them.

This teaching-parent is paid based on the number of children enrolled in her class and was pretty surprised when she was told she would have two of a board member’s children in her class and they would “be pro bono cases.” That means she wasn’t going to get paid for these two students in her class! This teacher has a written contract with the homeschool group and it does not mention any “pro bono cases.”

Pro bono means “for the public good” and refers to an attorney offering his or her services for free to help a public cause.

I find it odd that the homeschool organization used the term “pro bono” like this. They shouldn’t obligate someone else (the teacher in this case) to work “pro bono.” It’s like volunteering someone else!

Some homeschool groups waive tuition and fees for board members, but that doesn’t mean the group should stiff the teachers! It means the homeschool group absorbs the cost themselves.

So homeschool leaders, go ahead and be generous. Offer discounts to your hard working board members (but read this to make sure the discounts are not taxable income to your board members), but please treat your paid teachers well too!

Don’t go “pro bono” or volunteer someone else. It’s just not nice.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

How to Have Happy and Thankful Homeschool Co-op Members

 

Are your homeschool co-op members happy and thankful? Or maybe they are complaining to you. Can that be changed?

In this short podcast episode (14 minutes)  Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, interviews homeschool leader Becky Abrams who started and leads a homeschool co-op in Oregon.

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast Becky explains:

  • How she went about finding help
  • How her co-op’s board came together
  • How to have happy and thankful co-op members!
  • How Becky invited new board members to join the leadership team
  • How to let co-op members have a voice

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

Help your homeschool group get organized and run smoothly!

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

But this is more than just a few cover sheets for your binder. It is also a 55-page board training manual with helpful articles on:

  • Suggested Board Meeting Topic List
  • Board Duties
  • Job Descriptions for Board of Directors
  • What Belongs in the Bylaws?
  • Compensation and Benefits for Board Members
  • Best Financial Practices Checklist
  • How to Read and Understand Financial Statements
  • Developing a Child Protection Policy

Read more about the Homeschool Organization Board Manual

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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How should a homeschool co-op set up their Quickbooks account?

Do you have something on your website or a resource on how a co-op should set up their QuickBooks accounts?

Michelle

 

Michelle,

I have a few posts about how to set up QuickBooks for a homeschool co-op:

Quickbooks Tips for Homeschool Groups on Sales
What financial reports do we need to generate monthly?

If you receive money in one year, but it’s really for next year (like early registration) then this is helpful:
Deferred Revenues in QuickBooks (opens a pdf file)

 

I actually don’t spend a lot of time talking about QuickBooks on this blog because there are so many good resources our there like this one (check out her QuickBooks tutorials):

5MinuteBookkeeping

A nonprofit called TechSoup has some great videos for using QuickBooks in a nonprofit:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRCtupIatuLkSlhtlXDyo7P7woeHORwgn

Finally, my book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization  has some tips for using QuickBooks like setting up a Chart of Accounts and a who are your “Customers” and what are your “Sales.”
I hope that helps,
Carol Topp, CPA

How does the IRS prove my homeschool group’s tutor should be an employee?

 

D. is a leader of a homeschool program, Classical Conversations, who asked me about the worker status of tutors in her program: Should they be employees or Independent Contractors? This question applies to many homeschool groups, not just Classical Conversations.

What evidence would the IRS use to prove an “employee” was “treated” wrong (i.e., misclassified as an Independent Contractor when they should be an employee)? If it’s how much freedom the tutor felt they had, I am confused.

If I hire a independent contractor to paint my walls do I not have full rights to specify how, what color, the time frame I need it done, etc? How can this truly be an issued PROVED by IRS?

-D.
(edited for clarity and spelling)

 

D.,

Let me clear up something.

The IRS rulings, decisions and determinations on worker status are based on common law, not scientific facts.

Common law is the body of law derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes. Common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is that body of law derived from judicial decisions of courts (Wikipedia definition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_law)

The common-law system is used in all the states of the United States.

Common law and the IRS does not use the word “prove” as used in science. Instead judges and the IRS make judgements or determinations. Application of IRS regulations and determinations is not science, it’s law and that’s a different mindset.

Things cannot be “proven” in law like they can in science.

Under a common-law system, disputes are settled through an adversarial exchange of arguments and evidence. Both parties present their cases before a neutral fact finder, either a judge or a jury. The judge or jury evaluates the evidence, applies the appropriate law to the facts, and renders a judgment in favor of one of the parties. Following the decision, either party may appeal the decision to a higher court. Appellate courts in a common-law system may review only findings of law, not determinations of fact. Source: https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/common+law

I’ve written several blog posts on the factors (or “evidence”) that the IRS considers in making a worker determination. Here’s one: Behavior Control of an Independent Contractor

Behavioral Control, which you mentioned in your question, is only one of the many factors to be considered.

The IRS says,

“Businesses must weigh all these factors when determining whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. Some factors may indicate that the worker is an employee, while other factors indicate that the worker is an independent contractor. There is no “magic” or set number of factors that “makes” the worker an employee or an independent contractor, and no one factor stands alone in making this determination. Also, factors which are relevant in one situation may not be relevant in another.”

So citing an Independent Contractor painting your walls is not relevant in determining worker status of a teacher in a homeschool program or Classical Conversations group. They are very different situations.

A better comparison is an adjunct instructor at a local college. The IRS has several rulings about the worker status of college instructors. There have been several court cases involving instructors in an education setting. Reading these court cases and IRS rulings and determinations have led me to the conclusion:

Because instruction is a fundamental component of a homeschool organization, instructors, tutors and teachers should be treated as employees because the homeschool group will always exert control over these workers. (from Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization by Carol Topp, CPA)

 

If you want more details, my book Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization will be a big help.

I also offer a Worker Determination service to help decide if your tutors are misclassified as Independent Contractor  when they should be paid as employees.
Carol Topp, CPA

Are You Helping or Hindering Parents to Homeschool?

 

You lead a homeschool group to help parents successfully homeschool, right? But could your homeschool program actually be hindering their success as a homeschool parents?

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast, Carol Topp will share:

  • How homeschool groups take on responsibilities that belong to the parent
  • Do you assume your parent, especially new ones, don’t know how to homeschool? Some homeschool program undermine confidence of homeschool parents
  • Some homeschool programs foster dependence on their program to homeschool successfully
  • Is your group too controlling?
  • Are your parents dependent on your group or program to successfully homeschool?
  • How to identify if you are helping or hindering parents

Here’s a quote from the podcast:

 “If your group is taking over the education of the children then you are not helping that parent, especially that mom, to homeschool successfully. You are actually hindering her. You are making her dependent on your group.”

Instead you should empower her to homeschool her kids on her own

If one of your parents says, “I couldn’t have homeschooled without your group!” you should reflect on this question:

If my group closed tomorrow would our parents still continue to joyfully and confidentially continue to homeschool?

I hope so!

Share your thoughts on the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group!

 

Do you have questions about running your homeschool group?

Start by reading the Articles or search the blog. For more detailed information visit the bookstore  and listen to HomeschoolCPA’s podcast.

If you want individual help, consider a phone consultation with Carol Topp, CPA

Phone Consultation: A pre-arranged phone call to discuss your questions. My most popular service for homeschool leaders. It’s like having your own homeschool expert CPA on the phone!

Cost: $75/hour to nonprofit organizations.  $100/hour to for-profit businesses. $60 minimum.

Q &A by Email:  I am willing to answer questions by email, but it is very time consuming to read and reply to emails. I charge a reduced rate of $50/hour to read and reply to emails. Minimum $25.

Contact HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA, to arrange a telephone consultation.

Click Here to request more information!

Carol Topp, CPA

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