What Homeschool Leaders Don’t Know About Losing Tax Exempt Status

What Homeschool Leaders Don’t Know About Losing Tax Exempt Status

Carol Topp, CPA, the HomeschoolCPA will share tips on important issues that homeschool leaders may not know about. This episode will focus on helping homeschool leaders know what to do if their organization has lost its tax exempt status.

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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

Click Here to request more information!

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Summer reading to be a better homeschool leader: The IRS and Your Homeschool organization

Summer is a great time for homeschool leaders to catch up on some reading. I’m highlighting a book each week of summer and this week I’m spotlighting,

I know it’s not a catchy title, but it explains what the book is about. I have no expectations of this book ever being a best seller, but I wrote it to be helpful to the hundreds of homeschool organizations that need to understand tax exempt status.
This book began in 2008 under the title of  Tax Exempt 501c3 Status for Homeschool Organizations with a cover as boring as the title. It was an ebook with only 51 pages.
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In 2011, I expanded the book to 124 pages and changed the title to The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization with the subtitle Tax Exempt 501c3 Status for Homeschool Organizations. And I improved the cover.

IRS and Your Homeschool Org cover

After the IRS simplified the process to apply for 501(c)(3) status in 2014, I updated the book. The second edition includes a chapter on getting tax exempt status reinstated if it is revoked. I also added an index to make finding specific topics easier.
Who should read this book?
  • Anyone running a homeschool organization that’s been around a long time but has never filed anything with the IRS.
  • Anyone who mistakenly thinks they don’t have to do any annual reports to the IRS.
  • Anyone who fears their previous leaders did not do things properly.
  • Anyone starting a new homeschool organization and wants to be sure they are set up properly.

Here’s a special for the summer. Buy my books for homeschool leaders at 25% off. Get paperback versions for $7.50 (usual price $9.95) or ebooks for $3.99 (usual price is $4.95).

Order The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization


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HomeschoolCPA increased my fees, but you’ll get more!

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I don’t do this often, but I recently increased some of my fees.

My popular phone consultation fee is the same at $60/hour.

My fee preparing the IRS Form 1023-EZ application for 501(c)(3) status for small organizations has increased from $150 to $250.

But starting July 1, 2016 the IRS fee for Form 1023-EZ drops from $400 to $275, so overall your total fee will be less than before. Gotta like that.

Additionally, I used to charge separately for reviewing your Articles of Incorporation  for compliance with the IRS 501(c)(3) rules. Now that will be included in the $250 fee.

And I will also include a letter explaining what your state filing requirements will be for your newly formed 501(c)(3) organization. I used to charge separately for that as well, but it’s now included.

So, your homeschool group can apply for 501(c)(3) status (or get reinstated if your tax exempt status was revoked because you failed to file the annual Form 990-Ns) for less money and get more services!

What’s not to like about that?

Helping homeschool leaders,

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

 

 

 

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Converting from a homeschool support group to a full service nonprofit organizaton

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Lots of homeschool support groups find themselves evolving into bigger organizations than their founders imagined. They grew from being small monthly support groups to larger organizations offering field trips, co-op classes, graduation ceremonies, clubs, and other activities.

For example, TACHE (Tyler Area Home Educators) in Tyler, Texas began in the 1980s as a small support group for homeschool families. They grew to over 400 families and now manage an annual budget of nearly $20,000 and offer a plethora of educational activities.

They wisely decided to incorporate as a nonprofit corporation in 2009. But, unfortunately, TACHE did not apply for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status at that time.

In September 2013 TACHE  decided it was time to apply for tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) educational organization and contacted me. Because TACHE waited more than 27 months after their date of formation (in 2009) to apply for 501(c)(3) status, we had to explain TACHE’s history to IRS and give an explanation why they did not apply earlier.

I helped TACHE apply for 501(c)(3) status in February 2014 and after about 7 months of waiting, the IRS granted 501(c)(3) status.

But TACHE wasn’t finished with the IRS just yet. TACHE failed to file their Form 990-N Annual Information Return with the IRS for three consecutive years and had their tax exempt status automatically revoked. We were concerned that there would be a period of time when TACHE would have to file and pay income tax. There were a few phone calls and letters to the IRS, but finally the IRS reinstated TACHE’s tax exempt status and agreed that they did not owe any back taxes.

The process is does not always take that long, but here are a few lessons learned.

  • Don’t delay! Apply for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status within 27 months (or sooner) from your date of formation (usually the date of incorporation in your state as a nonprofit corporation)
  • File the Form 990-N every year. This is required for support groups as well as homeschool co-ops. If you fail to file the Form 990-N, the IRS will automatically revoke your tax exempt status.
  • Get help when you need it. My fees are reasonable and I focus on helping homeschool organizations.  Contact me.
  • Be patient. Although the IRS has cleared a lot of their backlog, it still took 11 months for the IRS to reinstate TACHE’s tax exempt status.
  • Learn all you can about tax exempt status for your homeschool group. My book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization, is a good start.

Congratulations to TACHE! It was along process, but it’s finished and TACHE can continue to serve homeschool families in Texas for many years to come.

Carol Topp, CPA


I will be recuperating from surgery and will be unavailable to answer your emails from November 15, 2015 until January 2016. Until then, here’s how you can get help.


Congratulations to homeschool groups on tax exempt status!

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Congratulations to several homeschool organizations recently granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by the IRS!

  • LifeShine from San Antonio, TX
  • Grace Home Educators of Martinsville, IN
  • United Christian Homeschool Association in Belton, KY
  • SCOPE Homeschool Group in Ashville, AL

Both Lifeshine and Grace had their tax exempt status automatically revoked for failure to file the IRS Form 990 for 3 consecutive years. Fortunately, I was able to help them get their tax exempt status reinstated and neither group owed any back taxes. Yeah!

Do you know about the IRS required annual reporting for ALL nonprofit organizations (that means your homeschool group, even if you never had to file any reports with the IRS before)?

Do you have questions about the tax exempt status of your organization?

Contact me and I will help your homeschool organization get tax exempt status (or get it back if it was revoked).

It’s better than paying taxes!

Carol Topp, CPA

 

IRS reports your homeschool group needs to file every year

IRS reports for homeschool groups

Your homeschool group should be filing some reports every year with the IRS. Did you know that?

Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, explains what forms homeschool groups should be filing with the IRS in this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show podcast.

Listen to the podcast here

In the podcast, Carol answers common questions from homeschool leaders such as:

  • We were told if our income is under $25,000 a year, we don’t have to file anything with the IRS. Is that true?
  • What changed? We never had to file anything with the IRS before!
  • But we’re not a 501c3 organizations (or don’t want to be), so why do we need to file anything with the IRS?
  • We don’t like government intervention. Why do we need to have anything to do with the IRS?
  • Our homeschool group doesn’t make any profit, so why do we have to file a tax return?
  • We’ve never filed anything with the IRS? We didn’t know we had to! Now what? Will be owe back taxes?

Here’s a helpful FAQ page explaining the IRS Form 990-N.

How to get added to the IRS database to file the Form 990-N.

If all this is new to you, don’t panic!

We can arrange a phone consultation with your homeschool leaders. Together we can sort out what needs to be done.

Contact me here.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Can our homeschool nonprofit get a new EIN to start filing the Form 990-N?

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Carol,

What would happen if I were to call the IRS, have them enable my Employer Identification Number (EIN) to file a 990-N (we’re under $5k/year in gross receipts), and then file a 990-N at the end of the year? Perhaps they would flag my e-postcard since we have never filed one, but the EIN has existed for many years. Can my organization apply for a new EIN?

Will

 

Will,

Since your organization has existed for many years, but has not filed any annual information returns (990/990EZ, 990-N), the IRS will look back and revoke your tax exempt status. You will need to apply for tax exempt status.

Your current organization could dissolve and some of your leaders could form a new organization with a new name and new EIN. But the former head of the IRS Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, has said,

“I don’t know if it’s purposeful, but I do know that it’s important for people to understand getting a new EIN is not the answer. It’s like getting a Social Security number, they’re very easy to get. You can get one, we’ll enter it in our system but when we actually start looking and you’ve got two EINs, and one of them is revoked, unless you came back in, the other is not going to be legitimate in terms of your status. So keep that in mind.”

Source: http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/boustany_johnson_ssns_72313.pdf page 9

So, getting a new EIN does not satisfy the IRS. You should probably look into getting your tax exempt status reinstated. I can help with that. More information here.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Can’t we just call the IRS and get on the list to file Form 990Ns?

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My leadership team is freaking out. We are one of those groups in the 990N discussion. We got our EIN in June 2010 and opened a checking account in December 2010. We always have under $5,000 pass through our books every year.

We have never called the IRS to be added to the 990N list because of lack of knowledge. You mentioned at the homeschool convention in Cincinnati fixing this problem by filing 20-some odd-pages to be reinstated.

Since we have never called to be on the list in the first place could it be, I pray, as simple for us to just call and get on the list and start filing the 990N form?

Sorry this has upset your leadership team.

Wouldn’t have been nice if the IRS had made it easier to comply when you learn about the 990N?

But unfortunately, they revoked your status automatically after 3 years of failing to file the Form 990N, even though you never officially applied.

Then to make things worse, the IRS requires you to file the 26 page Form 1023 to get reinstated, even though you never had to file that  application form in the first place (because your gross income is under $5,000/year).

Here’s my flowchart of the process to get tax exempt status reinstated.

This has made a lot of work for the IRS and they were back logged to begin with!

Fortunately, the IRS is considering a Form 1023EZ which is only 2-3 pages and a lot simpler to fill out than the longer 26-page Form 1023. They hope to have the Form 1023EZ ready by the summer of 2014.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath. The IRS has received some negative feedback  about their proposed Form 1023EZ, saying it is too simple! I agree that it does not go far enough in helping the IRS separate legitimate nonprofits from scammers. I doubt the Form 1023EZ will be ready by this summer.

But maybe you can wait until the fall and the IRS might have a Form 1023EZ by then.

I find that each homeschool group is unique. Some have to go though the IRS process, some are within the time frame and can get tax exemption reinstated easily. I do provide a phone consultation to help organizations figure out what is best for them.

Contact me to arrange a phone call and give your leadership team some peace of mind.

Carol Topp, CPA

IRS Proposes Form 1023-EZ

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The IRS is proposing a Form 1023-EZ to make applying for tax exempt status a bit easier.

See the proposed Form 1023-EZ

The instructions for the proposed form state that it can only be used by organizations that expect to be relatively small with no more than $200,000 in annual gross receipts and no more than $500,000 in total assets and are not churches, schools, hospitals, supporting organizations. There are other restrictions on who can use the Form 1023-EZ. See the checklist for eligibility here. Scroll down to page 33 and 34.

That describes almost all of the homeschool organizations I know.

This Form 1023-EZ could be a huge help to small homeschool organizations that need to file the Form 1023 to apply for tax exempt status or by organizations that had their tax exempt status revoked for failing to file the Form 990N for 3 consecutive years.

The Form 1023-EZ is not quite ready yet, but I’ll announce it here and on my Facebook page when it is ready. You can sign up for my email list on the sidebar to the right and will get notification that the Form 1023-EZ is ready (and a lot of other helpful information!)

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

Streamlined tax exempt reinstatement in pictures

 

Lots of small homeschool nonprofits find themselves in a awkward situation.

Their tax exempt status was revoked by the IRS and they didn’t even know it! Now they wonder how they can get tax exempt status back.

The IRS recently introduced a “streamlined” process to get tax exempt status reinstated. It’s all explained in IRS Rev Proc 2014-11 if you like reading IRS documents!

What the IRS calls “streamlined” means they went from a snail’s pace to a turtle’s pace! This new procedure still involves a lot of paperwork (the IRS loves paper) and paying an application fee. It may also include back filing the Form 990 Information returns you failed to file.

I created a flowchart to explain the process in pictures. I hope it helps.

RevProc_2014-11flowchart page 1 Download page 1  of the IRS Rev Proc 2014-11 Streamlined Reinstatement Process as a pdf document

 

RevProc_2014-11flowchart page 2Download Page 2 of the IRS Rev Proc 2014-11 Streamlined Reinstatement Process as a pdf document

 

If you have any questions about getting your homeschool organizations tax exempt status reinstated, please contact me. Carol Topp, CPA. We can set up a phone consultation to see where you are and what the best option is for your organization.

Carol Topp, CPA