Working Yourself Out of a Job

 

Do you have too many plates spinning? Do you wear too many hats in running your homeschool program? Jamie Buckland, a homeschool leader from West Virginia started Appalachia Classical Academy and knows where you are coming from! In this podcast (17 minutes) Jamie explains to host Carol Topp how she is working herself out of a job.

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: $85/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.

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The IRS is on the prowl in 2019!

Every year the IRS Tax Exempt division releases a list of areas and issues they plan to focus on for audits and investigations. The IRS Tax Exempt division calls it their Program Letter. The Exempt Division is the branch of the IRS that grants 501c tax exempt status to nonprofit organizations.

The Charity Law blog discussed the IRS Tax Exempt work plan for 2019.

 

I found the list of things the IRS considers “the highest known priority and emerging risks” to be interesting, especially these two issues that affect homeschool programs, both nonprofit and for-profit:

  • Previous for-profit: focus on organizations formerly operated as for-profit entities prior to their conversion to IRC Section 501(c)(3) organizations.
  • Worker classification (misclassified workers): determine whether misclassified workers result in incorrectly treating employees as independent contractors.

 

So if you are converting a for-profit homeschool business to a nonprofit organization, be prepared for some extra questioning and scrutiny from the IRS. You’ll have to file the longer Form 1023 to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status and explain in your Narrative why you are converting to nonprofit status. You will not be eligible for using the shorter IRS Form 1023-EZ.

 

My book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization  explains how to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, if you are treating your homeschool program teachers or tutors as Independent Contractors, be prepared for the IRS to keep an eye on you and they may open an investigation into your worker classification.

 

 

My book Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization will be a big help to you in paying workers.

 

 

 

Additionally, the IRS is hiring approximately 40 new revenue agents to process determination applications. Is that good news? More IRS revenue agents should mean both faster processing and increased audits and investigations! Both good and bad, in my opinion.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

 

Having Those Hard Conversations When You Lead a Homeschool Group

 

Ugh! As a homeschool leader, don’t you hate having those hard conversation with families, students of your staff? Jamie Buckland, a homeschool leader from West Virginia started Appalachia Classical Academy and understands having to deal with conflicts.  In this podcast (17 minutes), Jamie explains to host Carol Topp how she manages to deal with conflict in her group.

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

In the podcast Jamie mentioned managing conflict. My book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out devotes a chapter to dealing with volunteers and conflict. You might find it helpful as you lead your homeschool group.

Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and not Burn Out

Have you ever thought about starting a homeschool co-op? 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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Is your homeschool program a ministry or a business?

Sometimes I hear people calling their business a “ministry.”

Maybe because they are motivated by concern and care for their customers or because they donate a lot of their time for free.

I don’t refer to my accounting and consulting business as a ministry, but some people have thanked me for “my ministry” to homeschoolers.

Yes, I do give a lot of my time away for free especially on social media like this Facebook group for homeschool leaders that I moderate and frequently I might reply to an email without charging a fee (if it is a short reply!)

But I am running a business and I don’t want to give the false impression that I am running a ministry or operating a nonprofit organization.

OK, not a lot of accounting firms get confused with nonprofits (!), but there are some businesses and homeschool programs that present themselves as nonprofit organizations or “ministries” but they are really for-profit businesses.

I don’t like that. At best, it is confusing to call your business a ministry. At worst, it is deceptive and can damage the reputation of homeschooling.

 

I have tremendous respect for the late Larry Burkett founder of Christian Financial Concepts (now Crown Financial Ministries) who was both a business owner and operated a nonprofit ministry. He wrote:

Don’t practice deception. If you have a product to sell that you honestly believe will benefit other Christians, let it be known, but don’t promote it as a ministry or as a spiritual happening.

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. In other words, let people know what the company is and what the product is.

If there is a referral or finder’s fee paid to another person for a lead, let that be known too.

If you’re afraid of losing a sale because of total honesty, the program is dishonest.

Source: Larry Burkett in Using Your Money Wisely p. 76 and 77 copyright 1985. You can read a longer excerpt here.

 

I have heard from several nonprofit homeschool organizations that say churches in their local communities got “burned” by for-profit homeschool groups posing as “ministries.” Read this blog post to understand why churches are reluctant to host for-profit businesses.

Now these legitimate nonprofit homeschool groups have difficulty getting a church to host their program.

Being deceptive hurts everyone.

We’re better than that!

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Helping homeschool leaders

Should You Pay Homeschool Teachers

 

Should your homeschool program pay teachers? Jamie Buckland, a homeschool leader from West Virginia started Appalachia Classical Academy and pays her teachers as employees. How and why would she do that? This podcast (19 minutes) will give you something to think about and consider for your homeschool program.

Jamie explains to host Carol Topp how she started her classical homeschool program including:

  • How she received advice from other homeschool leaders
  • Why her program charges tuition
  • Why she pays teachers as employees
  • The benefits of having employees
  • The difficulties of using volunteers

Carol and Jamie both belong to a Facebook group for homeschool leaders called I Am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook Group. It is a closed group (meaning you have to request to join) of 600+ homeschool leaders from across the USA. You can join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

 

Jamie is the owner of Classical Program Consultant a consulting service for homeschool leaders interested in launching a classical homeschool program. Her website is JamieBuckland.net.

Are you interested in starting a homeschool program like Jamie described? Jamie and Carol teamed up to give a webinar on the ABCs of Starting an Academic Homeschool Program. You can benefit from their combined knowledge in this webinar (and several extra resources are included as well). http://homeschoolcpa.com/how-to-start-an-academic-homeschool-program/

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

In the podcast Jamie mentioned paying teachers or tutors as employees. My book, Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization has more information about paying Independent Contractors and employees.

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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Homeschool support group asks what tax forms to file

 

Hi- I am the leader of a homeschool support group and self declared 501c7. We are not a co-op and only do field trips and park days. We do collect yearly dues to help cover pool rental, field day, etc. We also have about 25 families and have under $300. What tax form do we fill out?

-Rhonda

 

Rhonda,

I believe you told me that your bank balance is $300, but the IRS  uses your total revenues (all the money that came in), not your balance (or profit) to determine what forms tax exempt organizations should file.

If you are a self-declared 501(c)(7) social club with total revenues under $50,000 per year, you should file the IRS Form 990-N every year.

The 990-N is a short, online form that the IRS calls an electronic postcard. It will only take 10-15 minutes to complete.

It is due 4 1/2 months after the end of your fiscal year. It is not due April 15 like individual tax returns.

You will have to call the IRS to get added to their exempt organization database.

This will help: How to get added to the IRS database and file the Form 990N

 

Additionally, there may be forms to file in your state.  Here’s a resource I use to research what each state wants HarborCompliance.com/information/nonprofit-compliance-guide

I hope that helps,

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Dealing with Angry People

 

Sometimes homeschool leaders must deal with angry members. It seems as if the ugliness from social media creeps into our homeschool groups. It’s happened to Alicia Strunkel, a homeschool leader form Georgia. Alicia explains to host Carol Topp how she has learned to deal with upset people both online and in person.

Alicia shares some tips including:

  • Don’t try to defend yourself
  • Don’t become argumentative
  • Don’t fan the flame and it dies out
  • Let it go!
  • Aim for personal peace

Alicia also explains her emotional base and how her faith plays a role in her leadership in a beautiful, heartfelt way

Listen to the end (15 minutes) for a boost of encouragement for homeschool leaders.

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

In the podcast Alicia mentioned managing conflict. My book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out devotes a chapter to dealing with volunteers and conflict. You might find it helpful as you lead your homeschool group.

Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and not Burn Out

Have you ever thought about starting a homeschool co-op? 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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Top tax mistakes homeschool business owners make

I’ve talked to a lot of homeschool (for-profit) program directors over the past few years. These people have a huge heart for homeschooling, but many do not understand that when they start their programs, they began operating a business. They don’t see themselves as business owners (but they are!), and so they neglect getting educated about running a business and make a lot of mistakes.

Here are the top tax mistakes I see homeschool for-profit directors make:

  1. Giving themselves a 1099-MISC.
  2. Not understand that they are business owners.
  3. Paying tutors as Independent Contractors but treat them as employees.
  4. Not understanding their tax obligations.
  5. Not being prepared for self-employment tax.
  6. Not being aware of potential penalties for worker misclassification.
  7. Not keeping good records.
  8. Not seeking professional advice before signing an agreement or launching a program.
  9. Not getting tax advice.
  10. Asking Independent Contractors or employees to volunteer their time. That is Illegal in most states.
  11. Not realizing fundraisers are taxable income.
  12. Thinking they can form a nonprofit by filing a piece of paper but not forming a board or drafting bylaws.

I explain a lot of these tax mistakes in my webinar on Tax Preparation for Homeschool Business Owners. It should be a lot of help to for-profit directors, tutors, co-op teachers and other homeschool business owners! For details visit HomeschoolCPA.com/HSBIZTAXES

 

Additionally my book on  Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization  explains in detail why tutors should be paid as employees and the risk a homeschool business owner is taking if she pays her teachers or tutors as Independent Contractors.

 

I’m not trying to scare anyone!  Sorry if I did, but maybe it will compel you to change your actions.

I’m not trying to talk you out of being a homeschool business owner, director of a for-profit program, or tutor if you love it.

But I am trying to help you stay out of trouble with the IRS and your state government.

The last thing I want is an audit of homeschool programs or businesses by the IRS or state governments! No one wants the reputation of homeschooling tainted in the eyes of our government. We don’t need that!

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Helping homeschool leaders

Dealing with Opposition When You’re a People Pleaser

 

Are you a people pleaser? Alicia Strunkel, a homeschool leader form Georgia, is, but after 11 years of leading homeschool groups, she has learned how to deal with opposition.

Alicia explains to host Carol Topp how she has learned to deal with her feeling when people are upset with her decisions.

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast (10 minutes), Alicia shares some tips including:

  • Putting your feelings aside
  • Look at the situation objectively
  • Look at the bigger picture
  • Ask yourself “What can I learn?”
  • Focus on your group’s purpose

In the podcast Carol mentioned …

 

In the podcast Alicia mentioned your group’s purpose and vision.

Does your homeschool group have a mission statement and a clear purpose?

Do you board members know it?

Carol Topp’s  Homeschool Organization Board Manual Can be a big help in writing a purpose and mission statement to run your homeschool organization successfully!

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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New tax deduction for homeschool teachers and tutors in 2018!

Congratulations homeschool business owners which may include homeschool co-op teachers, directors and tutors! There is a new tax deduction that you are (probably) entitled to take on your 2018 tax return!

It’s called the Qualified Business Income (QBI) Deduction.

The QBI tax deduction is equal to 20% of your profit from a “qualified business.”

Tutoring and teaching are both a “qualified businesses” if operated as anything except a C corporation.

If your taxable income is less than $157,500 for a single person or $315,000 for married filing joint, you can claim the 20% QBI tax deduction (even if you are one of the not qualified businesses I listed). If your income is more than those thresholds, your deduction will be phased out.

There are some additional restrictions and complications, especially if your business is an S Corporation, pays wages to employees, or if you have several businesses. So consult your tax professional if those situations apply to you.

 The Qualified Business Income Deduction is found on Line 9 of the 2018 Form 1040. so look for it!

Your tax prep software may not calculate the deduction automatically; you may have to answer some questions to trigger the deduction.

This deduction is for business owners, but not for employees.

Need more help preparing your tax return for 2018 this year?

There is a lot to learn about running a business. I don’t mean to discourage you or anyone else away from operating a homeschool business. You provide a valuable service to homeschool families! I am offering this webinar to help you understand the tax implications:

Carol, thank you again for the webinar. It was one of the BEST webinars I’ve EVER attended. If you do hold another one, I would pay for it hands down.  Totally worth the $10! -Denise, webinar attendee

“I actually don’t care for webinars at all – it is not my learning style at all and I struggle to focus, but this one was extremely value and had my attention”. -Mary, webinar attendee

The webinar was recorded and you can access the recording and slide handout at HomeschoolCPA.com/HSBIZTAXES for a small fee of $10.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping homeschool leaders