HomeschoolCPA.com named one of 50 Best Accounting Blogs

2014BestAccBlog

I was pleased that HomeschoolCPA.com was named one of the

50 Best Accounting Blogs for 2014

by Accounting Degree Review

I try very hard to provide helpful information and consulting services to a homeschool leaders. I enjoy combining my accounting knowledge and homeschool experience (I homeschooled for 14 years) to help homeschool organizations.

It’s also nice to be recognized for my blogging!

 

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

Preventing child abuse in your homeschool group

Hello Carol,

Thank you so much for all the insight you have offered! I am looking for information on background checks, and creating abuse prevention policy in our homeschool co-op. I have found vague info on how to protect children, but I am looking for written policy to implement. Could you please share with me any resources on this topic you may have.
Thank you for all your time,
Heather K.
Heather,
Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad the website was helpful.

I usually recommend homeschool leaders contact a large, local church and speak with the children’s director. They will have lots of information on background checks and policies. They may even share their policy with you.

National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) offers a short ebook “Preventing Child Abuse in Your Ministry” by Attorney David Gibbs III. You can download it for free (after giving, name, email, address and phone number) at http://www.ncll.org/resources/free/2014/august . It was quite good and offered general guidelines of what to have in a child abuse prevention policy, but it does not have a sample policy.
You might also join this Facebook group I belong to and ask your question there:
I Am a Homeschool Group Leader https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/
I hope that helps,
Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp at 2014 HSLDA National Conference

 

Homeschool School Legal Defense Fund Association (HSLDA) 2014 National Leader Conference will be held in my backyard. Well, not in my real backyard, but awfully close!

The 2014 Conference will be held in Erlanger, Kentucky, only about 30 minutes from my home.

Register here

I am honored that they have invited me as one of their speakers. I will be speaking to homeschool leaders from across the country on:

Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad IRS? How the IRS Sees Homeschool Organizations

and

Tax Exempt Status for Homeschool Organizations: The Pros and Cons 

 

I hope to meet some of you there! If you cannot attend be sure to tell your state representative to attend one of my sessions and take good notes for you!

Carol Topp, CPA

Pinterest board helps homeschool leaders

PinterestBoard
HomeschoolCPA has a Pinterest board called Helps for Homeschool Leaders.

 

On it you’ll find links to

  • blog posts to help you lead your homeschool organizations’
  • podcasts for homeschool leaders
  • inspiring quotes
  • other pins you might find useful.

Check it out, follow me on Pinterest and pin something to your boards too.

Any tax breaks for homeschooling in 2013?

cutting_taxes_green8732

Tax season hasn’t even started, but my website stats tell me that homeschooling parents are already wondering if there are any tax breaks for homeschooling, based on my previous blog post, Any Tax Breaks for Homeschoolers?

 

There are no tax credits for homeschool expenses from the federal government, but there may be tax deductions on your state income tax depending on what state you live in.

Several states have an educational tax credit.

Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana and Minnesota and all have some sort of tax break for individuals. The credit is available to any public or private school student, so it is not unique to homeschoolers.

Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania offer businesses a tax credit if they sponsor a scholarship.

This website has a comparison of state programs that offer a tax credits for educational expenses or for a donation to a scholarship fund. It was last updated in September 2011. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/educcred.pdf

 

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:

http://a2zhomeschooling.com/laws/homeschool_laws_legalities/tax_writeoff_educational_writeoffs/

Sorry I don’t have happier news, but many homeschoolers fear that a tax credit might come with strings attached such as reporting private information and record keeping that they would not care for. They prefer to homeschool in freedom and pay their own way in full.

What do you think?

Carol Topp, CPA

 

New, lower prices on HomeschoolCPA books

My bookstore has some changes to help you as a homeschool leader:

 

HS Co-ops Cover_400Updated: Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out has been updated. It has a new cover and some updated information. Price for the new edition paperback version is $9.95, reduced from the original price of $12.50.

Homeschool Co-ops  now comes in Kindle version priced at $4.95

If you purchased the print version from Amazon.com, you can add on the Kindle version for only $2.99

Homeschool Co-ops is also available in pdf format for those of you that prefer an ebook, but not a Kindle version. Price $4.95.

 

 

Cover Money Mgmt HS OrgMajor revision: Money Management in a Homeschool Organization: A Guide for Treasurers is undergoing a major revision. It grew from 40 pages to over 115.

It is getting read by a team of beta readers now and hopefully will be ready for release in paperback and ebook versions in early 2014.

When it’s ready the paperback will cost $9.95

The ebook (pdf) and Kindle versions will cost $3.99

If you purchased the print version, you can add on the Kindle version for only $2.99

 

Carol Topp

 

 

Homeschoolers: It’s honor copyright week! Learn what’s legal and what’s not!

 

Is this legal?

1. A mom of seven, Jane is always looking for ways to be frugal, such as having her children use page-protector overlays and wipe-off markers instead of writing in their workbooks. This way, she doesn’t have to buy extra copies.

or how about this one:

2. Dawn is so excited about her new lesson-planning software that she shares the DVD with her best friend.

or this one:

3. At a homeschool convention, Becky picks up a history text. It’s not a workbook, so her son writes his answers in a spiral notebook. Becky plans to reuse the book with her daughter next year, and then she’ll sell it.

from http://www.home-school.com/Articles/frugal-illegal-homeschool-copyright-law.php (answers below)

This week is honor copyright week.

Unfortunately, copyright infringement is a frequent occurrence among the homeschool  community. There are groups on Facebook, Yahoo, and other social media platforms which improperly distribute free files or illegally share paid files.  In many cases, the infringement is an issue of ignorance on the part of well-meaning and caring homeschoolers. Many people do not fully understand copyright law and aren’t knowledgeable enough to speak out against it when they see abuse.

Additionally, there is a large amount of misinformation which confuses homeschool parents. During the #honorcopyright week, we will be digging into to the dos and don’ts of copyright law to learn together. This week is not about policing or shaming; it’s about learning. Together, we can learn to understand and honor copyright law.

For basic information about dos and don’ts of copyright law, start here: 

http://www.ihomeschoolnetwork.com/honor-copyright/

Carol Topp, CPA

answers: 1.No, 2. No and 3. Yes.

Three questions to ask graduated homeschool moms

Janice Campbell

My friend and blogger Janice Campbell recommends current homeschool moms ask graduated homeschool moms these three questions:

  1. What is the most delightful memory you have of homeschooling?
  2. What was the worst mistake you made when homeschooling?
  3. What do you wish you had known while you were homeschooling?

I’m a graduated homeschool mom. After 14 years of homeschooling, both of my daughters are now in college.
I stay a member of my local homeschool network and my support group leader, Chrissy, asked me to come to their kick-off dinner in a few weeks and share my experiences with current homeschool moms.

I’m going to do that and I hope someone there asks me these three questions! I have my answers all prepared. 🙂

Tip to support group leaders: if you want us graduated homeschool moms to stay involved, do what Chrissy did. She invited me to come on a specific night. Otherwise, I don’t feel like I fit in anymore.
I also think a panel of graduated homeschool moms answering the 3 questions would be a neat idea for a support group meeting.

Carol Topp

 

“Incorporate yourself and write off homeschool expenses.” Really?

TaxAdviceLetters

 

Hello. I’ve been doing some research lately on how best to write of homeschool expenses in the state of Florida and came across your website. I’m hoping that you can assist me.

I’ve contacted my accountant who was able to confirm that the only way to write off homeschool expenses in Florida is to incorporate yourself.

If I go through that process, is there a site or a list of what I will be able to write off? Is it 100% of costs like curriculum and field trips? I’ve also heard that I can write off mileage related to homeschool events and even a portion of my mortgage.

I haven’t been able to find a good list anywhere that will tell me what steps I need to take and what advantages I will have once I take those steps.

Can you help or direct me to a good site that can help me?

Thank you so much for your time.

Becky C in FL

Becky,

To “incorporate yourself” you need a legitimate trade or business with a source of revenue (i.e. sales of a product or service). Paying yourself for homeschooling your own children does not count as a trade or business or revenue, so you cannot legally form a corporation.

Even if you do somehow form a corporation without revenue, your homeschool expenses are personal expenses and cannot be deducted on your corporate income tax return.

The advice you received from the accountant you found was incorrect.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Teacher hired to teach homeschooled children asks about taxes

woman_at_chalk_board_400_clr_7852

I am currently an elementary school teacher who has been approached by parents that want their children home schooled, but would rather have a private teacher do the instructing. How would I file taxes if I chose to go that route?
Marcia

Marcia,

If you are hired to teach homeschooled children, then you are running a sole proprietorship business, much like a private tutor or a music teacher.
You will file taxes on a Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business as part of your Form 1040.

I have several blog posts advising people like you who want to offer services to homeschool parents.
Is it Homeschool or Mary Poppins?
Can I hire a homeschool governess?
Is it legal to homeschool other people’s children?

Good luck!

Carol Topp, CPA