I run a support group that encourages homeschoolers to engage in STEM competitions. We have had students win prize money in the past and we would like to have be able to open a checking account to receive that prize money. Some organizations will give directly to students, others require an educational organization with a W-9. We are considering a DBA or an LLC, where any prize money would be granted to the group and then distributed via an application process to homeschoolers who start STEM groups.
I am willing to personally take on the prize money as income to me if someone wins and deduct then the tax amount. Since we do not collect any dues, we do not want to file for 501 tax exempt. There is no money to pay the fee. If no one wins anything, we have no income to report.
Would you suggest either the DBA or the LLC, or do you have another suggestion?
Thank you for any assistance.
Blessings to you!
Thank you for contacting me. You are doing a wonderful thing for homeschoolers!
From what you described, I don’t think a DBA (Doing Business As name registration for a business) or an LLC (a for-profit business) would be the best arrangement. My concern would be that grantors of the prize money would not award funds to an LLC/for-profit business.
Additionally, accepting payments in your name might not qualify as an “educational organization” to the grantors.
Instead, you probably need to establish an official nonprofit organization (I can help with that) or find another nonprofit organization to take your STEM program under their umbrella. They let you use their tax exempt status and it’s easier than setting up a new nonprofit organization. It’s called fiscal sponsorship and it’s legal, if done correctly.
Learn more about Fiscal sponsorship
Carol Topp, CPA