IRS requires homeschool support group to have “organizating documents”

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(Background: Lisa’s homeschool support group decided to officially declare tax exempt status as a 501(c)(7) social club. Lisa called the IRS to be added to their database so that she could file the annual Form 990N as the IRS requires of all nonprofit organizations.)

Carol,

I just spoke with the IRS about being entered into their database.  I am frustrated.  The first question she asked me was whether we have an organizing document. After I said we don’t, but are self declaring 501c7 status, she informed me that unless we have an organizing document, we don’t have standing with them and are not considered an exempt organization, so we wouldn’t file a 990N.

Lisa in PA.

 

Lisa,

How extremely frustrating the IRS can be!

Organizing documents are:

  • Bylaws
  • Articles of Association for unincorporated organizations.
  • Articles of Incorporation for organizations that decide to form a nonprofit corporation in their state.

Most homeschool support groups do not incorporate in their state. They remain unincorporated associations. (Sounds nice and official, doesn’t it?)

Homeschool co-ops or other large groups frequently incorporate as nonprofit corporations in their state and go on to apply for tax exempt status with the IRS.

Read more about nonprofit incorporation:

Your homeschool support group  won’t ever send the IRS your “organizing documents” since you are self-declaring tax exempt status as a social club and do not have to file a Form 1024 to apply for 501(c)(7) status.

But it’s still a good idea for a homeschool support group to have bylaws and Articles of Association. They spell out the foundation of your group’s purpose, membership, and how the board is chosen.

Your homeschool support group could create bylaws or “Articles of Association” (I added a sample to my Sample Documents page) as your organizing documents.

Your board should vote to approve the bylaws or Articles of Association, but you don’t have to file the document with the state or the IRS.
Then call the IRS again, hope for another person this time, and see if you can get into the IRS database.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

 

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