12 moms want to start a homeschool co-op. How to get started

Carol,

12 mommies started a homeschool co-op. We offer an educational learning class three times a month and social events (field trips). We are wanting to do things right. We are thinking of collecting dues and selling goods to have money for trips. How do we get started with registering as nonprofit, filing a 501c3, doing everything legal in my state?
Courtney

 

Courtney,

Good for you and the 12 families to help each other homeschool by forming a co-op!

Start by reading through my checklist of steps to form a nonprofit and apply for tax exempt status.

One of your first tasks will be to form a board, the 3-5 people who will lead the group and make major decisions.

My newest webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community will offer you some great tips to form a board.

 

Then my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out should be a big help.

Finally one of your officers (usually the Treasurer) should read my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. It explains the process to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.

When you’re ready contact me and we can set up a phone call to see if you’re set up enough to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status!

I’m planning another webinar on applying for 501c3 tax exempt status in June 2019. Sign up for my email list to be notified when it’s going to happen.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Helping Homeschool Leaders

Special Needs Children in a Homeschool Co-op

Special needs children can be a challenge for a homeschool group leader. In this episode (14 minutes), Faith Berens, Special Needs Consultant at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) explains to host Carol Topp how a homeschool co-op can welcome a child with special needs.

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast, Faith shared:

  • All children want to feel welcomed
  • Tips for accommodating a child with special needs including using intake forms and having a pre-visit time
  • Why asking “How can we support you?” is so helpful to a parent
  • A helpful book to read aloud to children, Just the Way I am: God’s Good Design and Disability
  • A resource for homeschool leaders Homeschooling Children with Special Needs by Sharon Hensley
  • The website Understood.org has helpful videos and a podcast

HSLDA’s list of resources https://hslda.org/content/strugglinglearner/default.asp

 

Faith Berens can be reached by email at SpecialNeeds@HSLDA.org.

The next episode (#172) Faith will share some more resources and practical tools for homeschool leaders to help families of children with special needs.

 

In this episode, Carol mentions:

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!

Save

Save

Inurement: a funny word the IRS doesn’t like!

The IRS uses an unusual word that most of us don’t know the meaning of: inure or inurement. Here’s how the IRS uses it in their definition of a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization:

A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization. (emphasis added)

Source: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/inurement-private-benefit-charitable-organizations

What does inurement mean?

“Inurement” means “benefit.”  The IRS forbids a tax exempt organization to use its income or assets to directly or indirectly benefit an individual, a person with a close relationship with the organization or a person who is able to exercise significant control over the organization. These can be board members or donors.

Jeramie Fortenberry an attorney, gives an excellent explanation of inurement in his website article “The Inurement Prohibition & Non-Profit Organizations.”

Non-profit organizations are subject to what is known as the nondistribution constraint.  Simply stated, this means that non-profit organizations cannot distribute profits to those who control it.  The nondistribution constraint is the fundamental distinction between non-profit organizations from for-profit organizations.  (emphasis added)

Any time assets of the organization flow through to benefit the organization’s insiders, whether directly or directly, inurement is an issue.

What are some examples of inurement?

  • A nonprofit executive used the organization’s money to pay his child’s college tuition, lease a luxury car for his wife, have his kitchen remodeled, and rent a vacation house at the beach.
  • The CEO at a tax-exempt hospital used charitable assets to pay for personal items such as liquor, china, crystal, perfume, an airplane, and theater tickets.
  • A nonprofit art gallery exhibits artwork created by its members for a fee but grants board members the same service without cost.
  • The nonprofit organization’s sole activity is conducting seminars and lectures based on the program owned by its president and his for-profit company.
  • An educational organization had four board members who voted themselves free tuition to the program for their children. This benefit ranged from $2,000-$4,000 per board member per academic year.

Sources: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-private-inurement.html and https://boardsource.org/resources/private-benefit-private-inurement-self-dealing/ and https://www.forpurposelaw.com/the-private-benefit-rule-three-more-examples/

What happens if a nonprofit practices inurement?

I would hope inurement would never happen in a homeschool group, by Mr. Fortenbury discusses the IRS’s options against a nonprofit organization.

The inurement restriction is absolute: An organization that violates this prohibition will not qualify (or will cease to qualify) for tax exemption.

In cases involving inurement, the IRS may impose the penalties in lieu of or in addition to the revocation of tax exempt status. 

This system effectively gives the IRS two options to enforce the nondistribution constraint.  In blatant violations of the inurement prohibition, the IRS can both revoke tax exemption and impose monetary penalties under the intermediate sanction regimes. In less severe cases, the IRS may seek to correct the situation through intermediate sanctions alone.

For the full article visit: https://www.fortenberrylaw.com/inurement-prohibition-nonprofit-organizations,

 

So, please homeschool leaders, stay away from inurement (giving benefits or the assets that belongs to the nonprofit) to any insiders (those who exercise control over the organization).

We’re homeschoolers and we’re better than that.

Carol Topp, CPA

Converting a Business to a Nonprofit: Tax Exempt Status

 

Some homeschool groups that started as a for-profit business want to convert to a nonprofit organization. Most of these nonprofit organization also want 501c3 tax exempt status from the IRS as well.

In this 3-part podcast series Carol Topp, CPA has explained the basics of a nonprofit organization and how to form a nonprofit corporation. In this third episode Carol discusses 501c3 tax exempt status.

The first two episodes (#168 and 169) can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast

Show Notes

In this episode, Carol will discuss:

  • The benefits of tax exempt status
  • The application process and Forms 1023-EZ and 1023.
  • Time and cost to apply for 501c3 status
  • A successor to a for-profit entity must use IRS Form 1023 (not the shorter 1023-EZ) to apply for 501c3 status.

 

Featured Product

This webinar recording on Creating a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community will be very helpful as you launch a homeschool group

This webinar recording is helpful for new nonprofits, existing homeschool groups especially if you’re unsure if your group is a nonprofit, or for a business wanting to convert to a nonprofit organization.

The webinar runs about 90 minutes and covers:

  • The difference between a business and a nonprofit
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit
  • Forming a board: who can be one it, what do they do, etc.
  • Creating bylaws
  • Drafting a budget
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Forming a nonprofit corporation in your state
  • The timeline to get this all done
  • The expense to accomplish this

The cost is only $10!

For more information visit HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

 

In the podcast I mentioned my book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization.

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

 

Save

Save

Carol Topp, CPA unavailable May 2-15, 2019

I apologize, but I will be unavailable to receive or reply to emails from May 2-15, 2019.

It would be best to contact me after May 15, 2019.

Thank you!

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Reimbursement policy for a homeschool group

We discussed during our phone call the need to require receipts from our homeschool program’s teachers before they are reimbursed. I have some board members that are concerned. They are afraid it will be seen as more trouble than it’s worth and that we will have fewer moms volunteer. Their question is whether receipts are necessary.

-BW

 

BW,

Reimbursements…yes, the paperwork and receipts are necessary, because if your homeschool organization gives a volunteer a check without getting a receipt from her, it is considered taxable income to the volunteer teacher (under what the IRS calls a “nonaccountable plan”).

But if the volunteer teacher gives you a receipt, then the money your homeschool group pays her is NOT taxable income to her.

Here’s a blog post you should share with your board: No receipts for expenses can get you in trouble!

Your homeschool program should have a reimbursement policy that is an “accountable plan” to avoid your volunteers having to report the reimbursement as income on their tax return.

To be an accountable plan by the IRS, your reimbursement plan must include all three of the following rules:

  1. The expenses must have a business connection; that is, the expenses must have been paid or incurred while performing services as an employee (or volunteer) to your organization.
  2. The volunteer or employee must adequately account for these expenses within a reasonable time (typically within 120 days). Your homeschool organization must require volunteers/employees to give you detailed information on these expenses, including date, time, place, amount, and  purpose for the expense.  Lots of homeschool groups create a reimbursement form. I offer a sample here (it’s an Excel spreadsheet so you can edit it if you like).
  3. You must require the volunteer or employee to return excess reimbursements within a reasonable and specific period of time (usually 60 days). This is applicable if you give money in advance to a volunteer. Giving and advance is not typical in homeschool groups, but a few groups have told me that they give advances to some volunteer teachers.

If all three of these requirements are not met, the plan is determined by the IRS not to be an accountable plan, and any expenses reimbursed to the employee by your homeschool program are taxable to the volunteer!

So now you can see the importance of requesting those receipts (and having an accountable plan)!

Better yet, use my sample reimbursement form (opens an Excel spreadsheet) since it collects all the information required by the IRS to have an accountable plan.

I strongly recommend that your reimbursement policy state that if no receipts are turned in, no reimbursement money will be paid to a volunteer!

 

My book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization offers tips on reimbursement plan and other aspects of managing the money in a homeschool group.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

 

Starting a Nonprofit: Nonprofit Incorporation

 

Sometimes a homeschool group started as a for-profit business desires to convert to a nonprofit organization for its many benefits. Can that be done? How hard is it? How costly is it?

In Episode 168 Carol Topp, CPA explained the basics of forming a nonprofit board. In this second episode Carol discusses bylaws and nonprofit incorporation.

Show Notes

Your organization’s purpose will not be making a profit, but now will be educational and maybe religious.

The control shifts from the owner to a board. At least 3 members need to be on the organization’s board.

  • Officers are Chair, Vice, Secretary and Treasurer. Add more board members if needed.
  • Board members should be unrelated to each other (by family and by business relationships) and unrelated to any paid employees. So a board cannot be all the paid staff/teachers/tutors, but could be parents, community members, etc.

The Board has duties of care, loyalty, management (or obedience to law)

  • The board has authority and responsibility. No “rubber stamp” boards!
  • An officer of the Board signs all contracts, agreements, licenses, etc. not the Executive Director
  • The board has control, not the Exec Director. The board decides who to hire and fire, what purpose and activities are,

Conflict of Interest Policy. A paid staff member (Executive Director) can attend board meeting, but no vote because she has a conflict of interest. Sample Conflict of Interest Policy can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Samples.

Webinar

In the podcast I mentioned that I created a webinar on Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community

This is good for both new nonprofits, or if you’re unsure if your group is a nonprofit (!) or for a business wanting to convert to a nonprofit.

The cost is only $10!

For more information visit HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

 

Save

Save

Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community


Can a homeschool community of families become a nonprofit? What if it is currently a business?
How hard is it?
What are the steps to take?
How fast can it get it done?
How much will it cost?

 

I have recorded a webinar to answer all these questions and more!

Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

The webinar is 90 minutes and covers:

  • The difference between a business and a nonprofit
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit
  • Forming a board: who can be one it, what do they do, etc.
  • Creating bylaws
  • Drafting a budget
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Forming a nonprofit corporation in your state
  • The timeline to get this all done
  • The expense to accomplish this

Who should watch the webinar?

  • Brand new start up homeschool groups
  • Existing groups that never formed as a nonprofit
  • Homeschool communities run as a business that want to convert to be a nonprofit
  • Leaders that are unsure if their homeschool group is a business or a nonprofit. It can be confusing!

A follow up webinar will cover the IRS Form 1023/1023-EZ Application for 501c3 Tax Exempt Status. It will air sometime in June 2019.

The webinar fee is $10. Yes only $10.

You will receive:

  • A link to the recording of the video (90 minutes). Watch anytime (just bookmark the link)
  • A copy of the slides from the webinar


Thank you for this webinar! It was great!-Alicia, homeschool leader
Thank you! It was very informative!-Rhonda, live attendee


UPDATE: The follow-on to this webinar is 501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofits. It walks you though the IRS Form 1023-EZ application line-by-line. You will be ready to apply on your own after watching this webinar.

 

Your host:

Carol Topp, CPA is the owner of HomeschoolCPA.com and has assisted more than 150 homeschool organizations apply for 501c3 tax exempt status. She is the author of 15 books.

 

 

 

Making Sure Your Nonprofit Organization is Compliant

 

A lot of homeschool leaders ask me,

“What do I need to do after my homeschool gets nonprofit or tax exempt status?”

They are asking about being compliant with the laws of our land, both federal and sate.

This article Making Sure your Nonprofit Organization is Compliant from MoneyMinder.com has a great article that explains compliance in these areas:

Tax Exempt Status which includes federal income tax exempt granted by the IRS, and sales tax exemption from your state. Your nonprofit may even be eligible for property tax exemption if your own a building. The laws on sales tax and property tax exemption vary by state.

My article explains the IRS filing requirements Do You Know About Required IRS Filings? for tax exempt organizations.

Register with the State Registration laws vary from state to state but most require you to confirm your active status (especially if you are formed as a nonprofit corporation), contact information, mailing address, and name of board members. This reporting is usually to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Charitable Solicitations
Many states ask that you register before actually asking for donations or fundraising. This registration is usually to the Attorney General’s office in your state.

Donation Receipt Requirements
A donor should be given a receipt for any single contribution of $250 or more. The article gives more details on what your donation receipt should say.

 

To research what your state compliance requirements are visit this helpful website

https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/nonprofit-startup-guide.php

If you wish, I can research your state’s requirements and compose a letter explaining what you should do next for filing in your state. I will charge $50 for the research and letter. Just let me know if I can help you in this way.

 

I hope that helps you know what it takes for your homeschool nonprofit to be compliant in your state and with the IRS.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Converting a Homeschool Business to a Nonprofit: The Basics

 

Sometimes a homeschool group that started as a for-profit business now desires to convert to a nonprofit organization for its many benefits. Can that be done? How hard is it? How costly is it?

In the next 3 podcast episodes Carol Topp, CPA will explain how to convert a for-profit business into a nonprofit organization.

Show Notes

In this first episode covering the basics Carol discusses:

Your organization’s purpose will not be making a profit but now will be educational and maybe religious.

The control of the group’s mission and activities shifts from the owner to a board. A nonprofit is not owned by anyone. At least 3 members need to be on the organization’s board.

  • Officers are Chair, Vice, Secretary and Treasurer. Add more board members if needed.
  • Board members should be unrelated to each other (by family and by business relationships) and unrelated to any paid employees. So a board cannot be all the paid staff/teachers/tutors, but could be parents, community members, etc.

The Board has duties of care, loyalty, management (or obedience to law)

  • The board has authority and responsibility. No “rubber stamp” boards!
  • An officer of the Board signs all contracts, agreements, licenses, etc. not the Executive Director
  • The board has control, not the Exec Director. The board decides who to hire and fire, what purpose and activities are,

Conflict of Interest Policy. A paid staff member (Executive Director) can attend board meeting, but no vote because she has a conflict of interest. Sample Conflict of Interest Policy can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Samples.

Webinar

In the podcast I mentioned that I’m offering a webinar on Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

This is good for both new nonprofits, or if you’re unsure if your group is a nonprofit (!), or for a business wanting to convert to a nonprofit.

The cost is only $10!

For more information visit HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

 

 

Save

Save