IRS Form 1023-EZ adds more questions for 501c3 tax exempt status

In January 2018, the IRS Exempt Organization updated the Form 1023-EZ by adding a few extra questions.

The Form 1023-EZ Streamlined Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is a short online form that small nonprofit organizations can use to apply for 501(c)(3) status. The Form 1023-EZ application form is available for U.S. organizations with assets of $250,000 or less and annual gross receipts of $50,000 or less. That’s most homeschool organizations. It was created in 2014.

The update in 2018 added:

  • Two questions from the Eligibility Worksheet (found on the Instructions to Form 1023-EZ) asking:
  1. “Have your annual gross receipts exceeded $50,000 in any of the past 3 years and/or do you project that your annual gross receipts will exceed $50,000 in any of the next 3 years? (that’s really two questions)
  2. “Do you have total assets the fair market value of which is in excess of $250,000?”
If you check “Yes” to either of those questions, you do not meet the requirements to submit Form 1023-EZ and you most file the longer, paper application, Form 1023, instead.
  • A new requirement that organizations describe to the IRS their mission or most significant activities. The description is limited to 255 characters, so it’s very short.

I frequently see eloquent mission statements such as the following:

It is the goal of our organization to encourage Christian home educating families to home school in a manner that honors God. To accomplish this we will…

1) provide for academic achievement nurtured in an atmosphere where godly living is exemplified

2) provide resources for enhancing parental home schooling skills.

3) provide opportunities for children’s enrichment and growth through various classes and activities.

4) inform member families and public about legislative issues related to home education

That’s lovely, but it’s not specific enough for the IRS, it doesn’t describe their activities, and it is more than 255 characters! I culled it down to this:

To encourage Christian home educating families. We offer an annual conference, educational classes, field trips, clubs and social events.


Since the addition of this new description, I have found the IRS is taking a bit longer to approve 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. What used to take only 10 days is now taking about 3-4 weeks. But that is still a lot shorter than the 3-6 months that most nonprofits who file the longer full Form 1023 wait.

Do your homeschool organization need help applying for tax exempt status or preparing your Form 1023-EZ? I can helpContact me, Carol Topp, CPA.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA unavailable until November 6, 2017

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I will be unavailable from October 24, 2017 through November 5, 2017. I will not be replying to emails and will be unavailable by phone.

I will be on a long-desired trip to Israel, walking where Jesus walked!

I’m traveling with a group called Pilgrim Tours. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about their tours. It will be a busy 10 days since we are traveling up and down the country seeing Galilee, the Dead Sea, Masada, Jerusalem and much more.

Thank you in advance for your patience as it will take me some time to catch up after I return.

Carol Topp, CPA

Homeschool co-op drop-off policies

Homeschool-life ,the popular website hosting service for homeschool groups, has a Leaders Forum. (If you’re a leader you can join the forum here) Recently a question about co-op drop off policies was asked.

Does anyone run a home school co-op that has a drop off policy?  

Do you have any tips that make it successful?

The forum members were full of advice.

Melissa said:
“In our group a parent may only drop off for an activity if they have made an arrangement ahead of time with another parent in the group be in charge of their child for that day/time/activity.  So if there is a injury, behavior issue or other need, it’s addressed by the parent who has volunteered to be assigned to this child. Our group is not huge (20 families) but this has worked out so far.”

BeckiJo wrote:
“We are primarily a drop-off co-op. Parents are not required to teach or assist in classes, but they are required to volunteer 6 times a year or pay a maintenance fee. Children under 10 are required to have a parent or other responsible adult present to help them move between classes and supervise the child during free time and lunch. We have made a few exceptions due to special circumstances. Some of those exceptions have worked out, others have been more difficult. We have not had any difficulty with our students 11 and older acting responsibly. We have volunteers that monitor lunch time which is our busiest time.

“We have actually found that we have a wonderful community of parents and students. The parents who stay with their younger students have built friendships and have been able to support and help each other. We have many parents of older students who stay for part or all of the day because of distance, enjoying the community, also working with their students during free time.

“We have just completed our co-op year, my first in leadership. One my blessings this year has been the opportunity to watch the sense of community build in our co-op, something that has been missing in the past.”

Sarah shared,
We do have a successful drop off program. It is approved on a case by case basis. It is usually older students. We have found it to be mutually beneficial because we charge a fee for this privilege. Our drop-off fee is $35 per student, per class.The money from these drop offs is then used towards events/programming that benefits everyone involved. We have had elementary students involved all the way up to high school but they were screened and would not have been allowed to continue if they had behavior issues.

Melissa wrote,
Our enrichment classes are all drop off except that we require one volunteer hour per week and one cleaning day per semester. Parents are welcome to stay but there’s not a specific spot for them to be. We have forms to fill out and code of conduct forms for parents and students. It’s all worked out for the 20+ years our group has been doing it.

Another leader shared,
We also have returned to a no drop-off policy. We did allow what we called independent students to attend for a while. They had to be high school aged.  The hope was that we could fill more seats in our high school classes. But the reality was we just needed to have more parents on site to work in classrooms as teachers and assistants. The kids were very well behaved and we wish we could still have an opportunity to have them in classes, but there needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship between co-op and families. I would never consider drop-offs for younger students. Too many obstacles and challenges for simple unpaid volunteers.

Melissa P. wrote,
Our co-op used to allow drop offs for children ages 13 and up. We stopped allowing it, because it diminished the sense of community among moms. There were also some behavior issues which would have been better able to be addressed with a parent on campus.

We make exceptions for emergency circumstances, and have a sign-out sheet, which requires another mom to be present with the children and responsible for them. A mother’s illness would be included in that. Mothers who have chronic illnesses are not, as we feel that we support a whole family, and a parent who is never in attendance is difficult to support.

Our decision was based on us wanting to diminish the feeling that we were a school, and remain true to our roots as a cooperative support group. It’s not always a popular choice for the parents, but we decided that we preferred our membership to be those who want community, not those who simply want classes.

As a consideration, your insurance may not cover you if parents are not on campus. In our state, if parents drop off, it creates a school/daycare situation, which has other licensing requirements.

Kimberly said,
As a rule, my co-op does not allow drop-offs. We do make exceptions, using a pre-authorized form, that gives us all the parental location, phone number info and the adult at the co-op who is responsible for the child. In the case of an emergency, there needs to be an acknowledged adult responsible for the child.


So as you see these are lots of ideas for drop-off students at your co-op. There does seem to be a consensus that a drop-off program should be for older students, not younger ones.

Carol Topp, CPA






Pins to help homeschool leaders

I love Pinterest! Do you?

I have a Pinterest page with 55 boards and over 2,000! Yikes. I shocked myself when I counted them all!

The board you’d probably be interested in as a homeschool leader is the

Helps for Homeschool Leaders board

There you will find links to my podcast episodes, my blog posts and my books.

Hop on over there and follow me so you can stay up on my HomeschoolCPA blog posts and podcasts.

And feel free to save, share or and repin any pins you find helpful. If you like it, chances are another homeschool leader will benefit too!

Carol Topp, CPA and Pinterest lover!

P.S. Check out my other boards to see what I do when I’m not helping homeschool leaders (I paint watercolor and crochet and travel a bit!)


Podcast links fixed

I just realized that my links to the past few podcast episodes didn’t work. Sorry about that! I’ve fixed them, so you can get to the podcast episodes now.
Carol Topp

Will you be at TTD-Nashville? I could use your help!

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Will you be at the Teach Them Diligently Homeschool conference in Nashville March 30-April 1, 2017?
I’ll be there! Come by my booth and say hello.
I could use some help manning my booth while I speak and I pay well!
Carol Topp, the HomeschoolCPA, is needing some booth helpers during the TTD-Nashville conference March 30-April 1.
I need a booth helper during 3 time slots of about 2 hours each around my speaking times on Friday and Saturday. I just need someone to be at my booth while I speak. If you are familiar with my HomeschoolCPA or Micro Business for Teens books that would be a big help. Even better if you can make a sale using a Square device on an iPhone. I’ll show you how!
I will gladly offer you a $25 gift card for each 2-hour shift, reimburse your parking, and pay for your meal.


If you can help me for a 2-hour shift on Friday (2:30-4:30 pm) or Saturday (8:30 am-10:30am and 4:30-6:30 pm) please contact me at
Please share this with your friends and homeschool group members.

Time is precious

Time is precious. I value my time and I hope you, my clients and potential clients, value it as well.

For many years I have kept my rates very low; typically less than half what an experienced CPA would charge. I have usually not charged to read and reply to emails.

But now I have found my services more in demand and my time even more precious.

So, I will be raising my rates to $75/hour to nonprofit clients and $100 to for-profit businesses. I will be charging a rate of $50/hour for reading and replying to emails (minimum $25).

These rates are still less than what most CPAs with 17 years of experience charge (typical rates are $150-$200+ per hour).

My heart is still to help small nonprofits and homeschool organizations. I will still provide personal, professional, and experienced services to my clients.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA needs help and is hiring (please share!)


Do you have an accounting background and want to help homeschoolers?

I’m Carol Topp, CPA, the HomeschoolCPA, and I’m looking to hire someone to help me.

This is a great opportunity for a homeschooling parent with an accounting background. It’s flexible, home-based, and very rewarding!


I’m looking for a subcontractor who will prepare IRS Forms 1023 and 990/990-EZ for my homeschool nonprofit clients. The completed forms will be submitted to me for review and signature. You will be an independent contractor, not an employee of Carol Topp, CPA, LLC.

You will work remotely from your home/office and chose your work hours. The hours are flexible and could be sporadic. There should not be any rush jobs. You should have several weeks to get the forms prepared, but there will be deadlines.

You will not be responsible for recruiting clients or corresponding with clients, but you are expected to keep client information confidential.


  • Prepare IRS Form 1023 Application for Tax Exempt Status
  • Prepare Form 990, 990-EZ Annual Information Returns for Tax Exempt Organizations
  • Correspond with Carol Topp on a regular basis on the progress, data needed from the client, and questions you have.
  • Become familiar with IRS and state nonprofit filing forms. This may mean taking classes on preparing these forms. These classes are your responsibility.
  • Comply with federal, state, nonprofit filing requirements by studying existing and new regulations.


  • Education (Bachelors degree from four-year college or university) and experience in accounting. CPA designation strongly preferred.
  • Familiarity with IRS Form 1023 and 990/990-EZ either through experience or through education.
  • Homeschooling experience desired.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Attention to detail, deadline-oriented, confidentiality, time management


Compensation will be 50% of my fee charged to my client. The fee can be negotiated after a trial period based on experience and successful completion of preparing Forms 1023 and 990/9990-EZ in a timely and correct manner. Subcontractor will be paid when final form is delivered to Carol Topp, CPA.

Please share this information with everyone in your local homeschool group, though social networks, email and with your friends who you think might be interested.

If you’re qualified and interested in helping me, email me some information about yourself, your education and experience to We’ll set up a phone interview and discuss the job responsibilities.


Carol Topp 1200x1800


Carol Topp, CPA



Time off needed. HomeschoolCPA thanks you for your patience.



Dear readers,

I will not be able to reply to your emails or posts here as quickly as I would like. I need to take a week or two off of work to help my 25 year old daughter who broke her leg this past weekend.

She cannot do much in her own. She needs help from two people to get into and out of bed, get to the bathroom,eat, etc. She is not to be left alone. I’m grateful that I work from home and that frequently my husband can work from home as well.

I’m also grateful that her accident (she slipped down a steep hill) happened one week after she moved back to Cincinnati, so we can take care of her.

Please pray for her pain to lessen and her healing to be quick.

Thank you for your patience.

Carol Topp, CPA

Homeschool CPA, Carol Topp returning to work part time


Dear friends, clients, and visitors,

I thank you all for your patience and your prayers for me during my surgery and recuperation. The surgery went well and the surgeons are pleased. If you’re curious what I had done, read more here:

The recuperation is taking longer than I expected. I returned to part time work on January 5, 2016, but I can only sit at my computer for a few hours before I need a rest.

I may not reply to you emails in as timely manner as I would like, so please be patient.

I hope to return to full time work in February, Lord willing.

Thank you for your patience as I continue progressing (and resting) toward a full recovery.


Carol Topp, CPA