Are your kids budding entrepreneurs?

 

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If you have a budding entrepreneur in your house than have them join the Micro Business for Teens online Club!

Join other teenagers launching a micro business in a monthly coaching and mentoring session with Carol Topp, author of Micro Business for Teens. It’s all online, so you can participate from anywhere!

Micro Bushiness for Teens Club starts September 11, 2018

The sessions will be held once a month live on Tuesday afternoons at 3:00-4:00 pm ET

Registration open now! $100 per student or $150 for a full family for two semesters.

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Coaching and mentoring like this with Carol Topp, CPA would typically cost $815! So $100 for 8 hours of Carol’s time and experience is a bargain!

Enroll now

Motivation to homeschool is changing. How does your group adapt?

Homeschool is changing! I know that you as a homeschool leader see those changes.

In her 2012 book Home Is Where the School Is, sociologist Jennifer Lois broadly divided homeschoolers into two groups: first-choice and second-choice homeschoolers.

A 2017 Pioneer Institute whitepaper characterized the groups this way: “The ‘first-choice’ family is in essence the traditional homeschooling family, viewing homeschooling as a lifestyle and an integral part of a student’s growth.

‘Second-choice’ homeschooling parents might be described as ‘pragmatic homeschoolers,’ perhaps even ‘reluctant homeschoolers.’ . . . this sub-set tends to view homeschooling as a stop-gap solution to a school-based problem as opposed to an overall family lifestyle.”

As more people start homeschooling for different motivations other than as a lifestyle, raising life-long learners, or faith, how does your group adapt?

Are you accommodating the parents who are just looking for a stop-gap solution?

Here is what some groups are trying:

  • Allowing more drop off students  and less parental involvement
  • Hiring more paid teachers
  • Offering more parent education on how to homeschool
  • Opening their formerly exclusive groups to allow public-school-at-home families to join

Share your ideas in the comments or join the I Am a Homeschool Group Leader group on Facebook and leave a comment.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Helping Homeschool Leaders

An affordable, online homeschool conference you can watch at any time

 

I’ve attended a lot of homeschool conferences, and I love that, but you may not be able to attend a live conference.

So… I’m excited to be a part of the

2018 Homeschool Moms Conference (online)

Watch over 100 workshops from 60 dynamic speakers and veteran homeschoolers from the comfort of your home.

There are two tracks: one on general homeschooling and one on working from home with an emphasis on blogging.

I will be giving 3 sessions on the Work at Home/Blogging Track

  • Micro Business for Moms
  • Business Tips and Taxes for Bloggers
  • Blogging: Is It a Hobby, Business or Ministry?
Early bird registration ends on Monday morning June 4, 2018 at 7:59am EST.
Early bird pricing saves you $5 and for one track is $15, All-Access Pass (both tracks) is $25.
This is quite affordable. It’s less than $.50 per session for lifetime access.

The conference begins June 4, 2018 and closes June 10, 2018.

All attendees will receive lifetime access to all conference session videos. So register today and watch the sessions at any time!

I also learned that you’ll be able to interact with the presenters in an online chat box.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomechoolCPA.com
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.

We’re bringing a homeschool conference to YOU!

 

One of the best thing you can do for you homeschool is attend a homeschool conference.
The encouragement, practical helps, and advice you receive are key to your success!

 

I’ve met many of you face-to-face at homeschool conferences, and I love that, but…
I can’t attend every conference and you may not be able to attend a live conference.
so…

 

We’re bringing a homeschool conference to YOU!

 

2018 Homeschool Moms Conference

Access over 100 workshops from 60 dynamic speakers and veteran homeschoolers from the comfort of your home.

There are two tracks: one on general homeschooling and one on working from home with an emphasis on blogging.

I will be giving 3 sessions on the Work at Home/Blogging Track

  • Micro Business for Moms
  • Business Tips and Taxes for Bloggers
  • Blogging: Is It a Hobby, Business or Ministry?
Early bird registration kicks off Monday 5/28/18 (TODAY) and ends on 6/4/18 at 7:59am EST.
Early bird pricing: 1 track $15, All-Access Pass (both tracks) $25.

 

The conference begins June 4, 2018 and closes June 10, 2018.

All attendees will receive lifetime access to all conference session videos. So register today and watch the sessions at any time!

Carol Topp, CPA
HomechoolCPA.com
Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link.

My homeschool is a private school. Can I use 529 funds?

I explained in “Can homeschoolers use 529 plans? Maybe!” that you can use 529 savings account funds for tuition paid to a public, private, or religious school.

Some homeschool students take classes from private schools (locally or online). The tuition payments to these schools can use 529 funds without  penalty or taxes.

So that begs the question,

“In my state, my homeschool is considered a private school. So can I use 529 funds for my private school/homeschool expenses?”

No. Sorry!

Here’s why:

The expenses must be to pay tuition. You don’t pay yourself tuition! That would be silly and not tax-smart.

Your other homeschool expenses such as books, curriculum, school supplies, field trips and are not paymnets for tuition and so you cannot use 529 funds without paying a hefty penalty!

Tuition payments to organizations that are not schools like your local co-op, Classical Conversations, etc.  cannot use 529 funds either (without incurring taxes and a 10% penalty!)

Carol Topp, CPA

Does using a distance learning program mean I can use 529 funds?

 

If you are homeschooling using an accredited, distance learning program like Mother of Divine Grace where you pay tuition, can you then use your 529 plan money?

Katie in Indiana

 

Katie,

529 plans have been a popular way to save for college expenses and have the gains be tax-free when used for qualified educational expenses. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act or 2017 expanded the use of 529 plans to include K-12 expenses. The laws says this about using 529 plans for K-12 expenses:

the term ‘qualified higher education expense’ shall include a reference to expenses for tuition in connection with enrollment or attendance at an elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.” (emphasis added)

There are 2 conditions for you to use 529 funds for K-12 expenses:

1) the costs must be for tuition and

2) the institution you pay must be “a public, private, or religious school

Mother of Divine Grace (MODG) is a California for profit corporation that describes itself as a private school and a private distance school in their California filings.

So if your children are enrolled at MODG (or similar private schools offering distance learning), you paid MODG tuition, and MODG is a school, then you can use your 529 plan to pay for tuition.

Homeschool parents should check with the program to whom they are paying tuition to determine if it is a school according to their state’s definition. If you have any concern about their status as a school, then do not use 529 funds to pay for the tuition. Withdrawals from a 529 fund that are not “qualified” (i.e. tuition paid to a public, private, or religious school) then you must pay income tax and a penalty of 10%. Ouch!

Your other homeschool-related expenses such as books, supplies, equipment, and payments to organizations that are not schools (like a homeschool co-op) cannot use 529 funds.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

Any Tax Deductions for Homeschoolers This Year?

 

Are there any tax deductions for homeschoolers this year?

Carol Topp, CPA answered this question originally back in 2014, but the answer is still the same-even with the new tax laws passed in 2017. Additionally, Carol gives some details on college expenses that are tax deductible and tax advantaged college savings plans.

This is a repeat of a podcast episode aired in 2014. I (Carol) caught a nasty cold and sinus infection and couldn’t talk without coughing for several weeks. I hope you find the re-broadcast of this episode helpful!

 

In the podcast Carol mentioned these resources:

Home School Legal Defense Association has an explanation of some states’ tax breaks or credits:http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200504150.asp

Ann Zeise of A to Z Home’s Cool has a great, detailed and lengthy post of tax write-offs for homeschoolers:
https://a2zhomeschooling.com/laws/homeschool_laws_legalities/tax_deductions_educational_writeoffs/

 

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Greater Cincinnati Homeschool Leaders Meet Up

 

Several years ago, I organized a meet up of homeschool leaders in the greater Cincinnati area. I enjoyed meeting other leaders and it was a great time to network, encourage, and share resources. I’m organizing another meet up!

Greater Cincinnati Homeschool Leaders Meet Up

Date: Tuesday February 13, 2018

Time: 7:00 -9:00 pm

Place: Faith Bible Church 8130 E Kemper Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45249 In the Family Room which is on the mail floor, off the foyer to the left. The church is located very close to the intersection of I-275 and I-71 near Kids First Gym on Kemper Rd.

Who: Leaders of any kind (board members, etc) of any type of homeschool organization. Even though we are meeting in a church, this is not just for faith-based homeschool groups. Any and all homeschool groups can sent a representative or two (or more!). If you’re not sure that you could call yourself a “leader” come anyway! If you’re thinking about starting a group, come and glean information.

What will we do: Drink coffee and tea, enjoy dessert and fruit, meet and greet others, a brief opening by Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA, open Q&A, sharing resources, ideas and solutions.

RSVP is not needed. Just come, but to get on an email list and be reminded of the event email Carol@HomeschoolCPA.com

Please share this information with any group leaders you know in the greater Cincinnati, Northern KY and SE Indiana area.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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

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Trends in accounting can help homeschool leaders

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I recently read an article from CPA Practice Advisor about trends in accounting. The author mentioned 3 trends and  I think all 3 can be beneficial to homeschool leaders.

  • The rise of cloud accounting. No more are the days of emailing spreadsheets back and forth, finding errors and inconsistencies, and being reliant on a desktop accounting system.
  • The focus is on helping small and mid-sized businesses. Accountancy firms have begun to provide advisory services, not just tax and compliance.
  • Advances in technology have increased efficiency. Many solutions available now that simplify and expedite so many processes in accounting firms.

I was pleasantly surprised that I am quite trendy!

  • I encourage my nonprofit clients to consider online accounting programs like Quickbooks Online or WaveApps.com. These programs allow several people (including me) to remotely access the financial data for your group. That’s good for accountability and shared workload!
  • I focus on small nonprofit organizations. And I provide consultations, not just filings IRS forms (although that is very important to do!). This focus helps me be an expert on nonprofits, taxes, and homeschooling-a unique combination!
  • I’m using technology to improve efficiency. Many of you who schedule phone consultations use my online scheduling service, Time Trade. My latest new tool  such as online project management called Quire. These tools help me keep on track as a I handle a larger load of clients each year. They also help the homeschool leaders know what information I need from them and the steps they need to follow in getting (or keeping) tax exempt status.

 


I’m always looking for ways to improve my services to you my clients.

If you’d like to be part of my advisory team and give me your input on my products and services, join the Facebook group or the email list. More details here.


 

Carol Topp, CPA