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

 

Lost your tax exept status? I can help.

Did your nonprofit organization lose your tax exempt status?

What’s this all about?

In 2010, the IRS has begun revoking the tax-exempt status of nonprofit organizations that failed to file a Form 990/990EZ or 990N for three years.

A large number of these organizations were small nonprofits that were not required to file an annual Form 990 because their gross revenues were $50,000 or less and many didn’t know about the new IRS requirement.

If your organization has not filed any of the 990/990EZ/990N forms for three years, it is likely your tax exempt status was revoked.

How will I know if my organization has lost its tax-exempt status?

The IRS may have sent a letter . If not, read more here…

OK, I think our tax exempt status was revoked! Now what?

Don’t panic. The IRS has a procedure to get your tax exempt status reinstated. It involves paperwork (the IRS loves paper) and filing fees of $400 or $850.

Here’s a flowchart I designed to explain the IRS procedure in pictures.

We need help getting through this!

I can help. I offer a phone consultation with your board or leaders to discuss where you are, what options your have what it will cost to get your tax exempt status reinstated. Contact me to set up a phone call.

It’s helpful to me if you fill in this Questionnaire.

What will this cost me?

My fees for reinstating tax exempt status are:

Consultation by phone $60 per hour.

Prepare Form 1023-EZ (organizations with annual gross income of $50,000 or less may be eligible for Form 1023-EZ): Includes verifying your eligibility to use the shorter Form 1023-EZ, and verifying that your organizing documents fulfill the IRS requirements:$250

Prepare Form 1023: (for organizations not eligible to use the shorter Form 1023-EZ) Includes verifying that your organizing documents fulfill the IRS requirements: $750

Prior Year(s) Form 990/990EZ Annual Information Return:
Form 990EZ: $400 per return
Form 990 (annual revenues under $500,000): $600
Form 990 (annual revenues over $500,000): $750

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

Save

How come we never had to file anything with the IRS before?

Dear homeschool leader,

Did you just hear the shocking news that all nonprofit organizations have to start filing annual returns with the IRS?

You may be wondering, “What changed? We never had to file anything before!” And you’d be right.

For many years the IRS had a problem: nonprofit organizations were not giving them annual information returns (Form 990EZ or Form 990). The IRS let small organizations (under $25,000 per year was considered small) get by without doing any annual filings, but the IRS couldn’t tell if an organization failed to file an annual return because

  1. The organization had died or
  2. The organization had less than $25,000 in income and wasn’t required to file a return or
  3. The organization was large and just not filing a return with the IRS. IOW, they were not playing nice and the IRS didn’t like that!

The IRS found some nonprofits are not following the rules and (gasp!) complained to Congress.

Congress passes the Pension Protection Act in 2006.

Photo credit: kakisky from morguefile.com

So the IRS got Congress to pass the Pension Protection Act in 2006. It required two things from nonprofits:

1. All small organizations (revenues of less than $25,000 per year) had to start filing an electronic form to the IRS every year. What the IRS called the 990N or their “e-postcard.”

and

2. All tax-exempt organizations that didn’t file an information return for three consecutive years will automatically lose their tax-exempt status. I call it the “3 strikes and you’re out” rule.

 

So here’s the timeline:

2006: Pension Protection Act requires annual electronic notice from all small nonprofits.
2007, 2008, 2009 were the first years that the annual notification requirement was in place.
2010: The first automatic revocations take place. The “3 strikes, you’re out” rule.

Word about the new required annual filing has been slow to get out. After all the IRS doesn’t have a big marketing budget. They sent letters, created press releases and even created a YouTube video, but a lot of small nonprofits were still in the dark.

Slowly, a lot of small organizations learned that their tax exempt status had been revoked and they didn’t even know about it! I guess the IRS got an earful of complaints because they (finally) created a system where small nonprofits could get their tax exempt status reinstated.

IRS created a “streamlined” reinstatement process for nonprofits

The process is outlined in IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-11 that came out in January 2014. Yes, that’s 2014. Eight years after the whole reporting requirement was enacted by Congress. We never claimed the IRS was speedy, did we?

The IRS loves paper and so the Rev Proc 2014-11 requires nonprofits to send the IRS a lot of paper. They have to file the rather long Application for Tax Exemption (Form 1023 or 1024) and probably file their annual information returns (Form 990) way back to 2008.

I’m not quite sure what’s streamlined about this, but I guess to a turtle, a snail is speedy!

So that’s why you are wondering if the IRS has some sort of new reporting requirement. It’s not really new, it’s 8 years old, but maybe you’re just now hearing about it.

What to do now

  • Brush up on the Form 990N and start filing it now!
  • Search the IRS list of revoked organizations to see if your nonprofit is listed there.
  • Read Rev Proc 2014-11 if you like reading IRS jargon to see what paperwork you need to file with the IRS to get your tax exempt status reinstated.
  • Or better yet, arrange a phone call to talk over your situation with me, HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp. I’m pretty good at understanding homeschool organizations and can help you know where you stand with the IRS and what to do next.

Thanks to Peter B. Nagel over at  http://www.cobar.org/index.cfm/ID/20108/subID/26452/CORP for providing the history of the IRS rules.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

 

Video: Annual IRS fiings for homeschool organizations

A short video on annual IRS filings for homeschool organizations.

I explain the annual IRS information return, Form 990.
See what you think:

For more information on the Form 990-N, read this 990-N FAQ page

Think your group’s tax exempt status was revoked? I can help. Read more here…

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Do you have to file to be tax exempt every year?

TaxQuestions
Once you file a support group as a 501(c)(7) social club, does the group have to file this exempt paperwork every year?
Susan R
Susan,
An organization applies only ONCE for tax exempt status.
But, tax exempt organizations must file an annual reporting of their continued existence, Form 990/990EZ or the online 990N every year with the IRS.
It’s a little like passing your drivers license test once, but you must renew your license every couple of years.
Most homeschool organizations file the online 990N and not the longer 990/990EZ because their annual gross income is under $50,000.
If you fail to file the 990/990EZ/990N for three consecutive years, your group’s tax exempt status is automatically revoked! Then you may end up owing taxes. 🙁
Additionally, some states require annual filings as well. Visit Hurwit and Associates to see what your annual filing requirements in your state might be. Pick your state in the drop down menu on the right sidebar.
I hope that helps!
Carol Topp, CPA

Homeschool group offering field trips is lost and confused!

Boys on field trip
We offer field trips, parties, meetups, and classes to homeschoolers.  Each person pays us the fee for the field trip or class, and we pay the venue.  We do not charge membership fees.  Most of our income comes from the chaperone tickets.
I am so lost.  When I took over this business, my predecessor told me that I did not need to file any paperwork at all.  I think I was supposed to file a postcard.  We “grossed” under $10K every year, but more than $5k.  I guess my goal is to be in compliance with any laws.
Jackie

 

Jackie,

Thank you for contacting me.

I looked at your website and I am amazed at the creative things that homeschool parents come up with to help others!  Neat stuff! 🙂

Now it’s up to me to try and figure out where you fit into the IRS nonprofit  structure.

Your group might be classified as a social club.
See this article and chart on how the IRS defines a social club.
http://homeschoolcpa.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/HomeschoolGroupsAs-SocialClubs.pdf

The advantage of a social club is that you do not have to apply for tax exempt status with the IRS. Social clubs can “self declare” their tax exempt status. Your previous leader was correct there, even if she didn’t know why!

The IRS does ask that all tax exempt organizations file the Form 990N, ePostcard, annually.
Carol Topp, CPA

Confused over IRS dollar thesholds for tax exempt filing status

GirlThrowsMoney

Carol,

Two local CPAs we’ve talked with are confused about the $5,000 threshold that you speak of.
They talk of a $25,000 threshold. They both seem to think we don’t need to do anything if we are under $25,000. Can you explain?

Melissa M

 

Melissa,

The $5,000 threshold is the threshold for filing a Form 1023 application. IOW, if your gross income is under $5,000 you do not have to file the application; your group is automatically tax exempt.

It is found in the instructions to Form 1023 on page 1 under “Form 1023 not necessary.”
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1023.pdf

 

The $25,000 that the CPAs mentioned is an  old figure. It was raised to raised to $50,000 in 2010.

It is the threshold for organizations to file an annual Form 990EZ instead of the simpler 990N (electronic postcard). See http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Annual-Electronic-Filing-Requirement-for-Small-Exempt-Organizations–Form-990-N-%28e-Postcard%29

 

I am quickly learning that even if you are under the $5,000/year threshold the IRS expects all nonprofits to be filing the 990N every year. I’ve had several nonprofit clients that failed to do this and it is holding up their tax exempt status approval.

Unfortunately,  there is no longer any truth to: “If you’re under $XXX, you don’t have to file anything.”
The rules changed back in 2010 and the IRS is enforcing them!

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

More nonprofits can file the easy Form 990N

2009 Form 990

Many homeschool organizations that have tax exempt status are small enough they do not have to file any tax forms with the IRS. And now new IRS guidelines mean even more groups are free from IRS filing requirements!

Small exempt organizations can file the simple Form 990-N, the electronic postcard, instead of the longer Form 990-EZ or  Form 990.

For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2010, exempt organizations may file the e-Postcard if their annual gross receipts were not more than $50,000.  The previous filing threshold was annual gross receipts of no more than $25,000. Gross receipts include every dollar your organization brings in, even if it goes out immediately too.

The e-Postcard is an electronic notice filed at http://epostcard.form990.org.

Need help determining your gross receipts? Send me an email and we can arrange a private consultation over the phone. Email me here.

If your tax exempt homeschool organization needs help filing their Form 990EZ or Form 990, I can help. Read more here.

Would your homeschool group benefit from being tax exempt? Find out by reading my articles on the pros and cons of tax exempt status.

Carol Topp, CPA