Tax forms for a special ed homeschool teacher

TaxAdviceLetters

Carol,

We started homeschooling our daughter who is special needs. We hired a special ed teacher and now with taxes around the corner we don’t know what we need to file.

Regards, B

Dear B,

I wrote a blog post on this topic that you may find helpful: Can I hire a homeschool governess?

In the article I mention the term “Household employee.” That’s the IRS term for nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, etc. who work in or around a personal residence.

Your hired teacher is probably not a “household employee.” Your hired teacher is probably similar to hiring a piano teacher or a tutor.Piano teachers and tutors are business owners, not household employees.  You are a customer of a person who is running her own business.

The teacher is the one who has to worry about reporting her income from you (or anyone else she works for) and deducing her expenses on her tax return.

I hope you had a clear discussion or written agreement with the special ed teacher about her employment status.

You do not get a tax deduction for what you pay her. There are (probably) no tax forms for you to give her.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Is a homeschool tutor an employee of the family who hires her?

Teenager&Teacher

I am hoping you can help me. I recently got hired as a homeschool teacher. I am reading articles that say I am not an independent contractor and this is really concerning me. I am hearing that I am an employee and to do things legally my employer has to fill out all this paperwork.

I want to be legal, but I don’t want to burden my new employer with all of this.

She did give me materials, an hourly wage and the times she wants me to come over.
Thanks,
Stephanie

Stephanie,

Thank you for contacting me. Worker status as an employee or independent contractor is a difficult and confusing issue.

What the IRS says about worker status
The IRS says that the facts and circumstances of each situation determines the worker status, not our desire to avoid paperwork and taxes(!). But they are the IRS, so of course they will say things like that!

What to do as a independent contractor
In practice, you and the family who hired you need to have a common understanding of your employment situation. If you agree to be an IC, then make sure you act like one. Have a written agreement stating you agree to do a certain job for a certain amount of pay. Both parties should sign it. Invoice the family on a regular basis listing the times and hours you worked for them. Make sure the family does not tell you how to do your job; you should already know how to do your job. You should also bring your own tools and supplies, although the student can have their own school supplies and books as well.

I think it is also fairly typical for private tutors to be ICs rather than employees. You are much like a piano teacher who agrees to go to a family’s home to teach. The IRS has a tendency to look at industry practice when determining worker status.

You cannot avoid some paperwork
Make sure the family gives you a 1099MISC and you report the income on your taxes at the end of 2014. You should also fill out a W-9 form Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and give it to them, so they have your legal name and SSN.

All these practices will help confirm your worker status as an IC, rather than an an employee.

I hope that helps.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com

Teacher hired to teach homeschooled children asks about taxes

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I am currently an elementary school teacher who has been approached by parents that want their children home schooled, but would rather have a private teacher do the instructing. How would I file taxes if I chose to go that route?
Marcia

Marcia,

If you are hired to teach homeschooled children, then you are running a sole proprietorship business, much like a private tutor or a music teacher.
You will file taxes on a Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business as part of your Form 1040.

I have several blog posts advising people like you who want to offer services to homeschool parents.
Is it Homeschool or Mary Poppins?
Can I hire a homeschool governess?
Is it legal to homeschool other people’s children?

Good luck!

Carol Topp, CPA

Starting a homeschool program to help disadvantaged children

Hello,
I am interested in starting something similar to a (homeschool) co op only I am not sure if it actually qualifies as a homeschool co op.  My idea is that there are many children who have learning disabilities, medical conditions and others whose parents would like to homeschool but cannot because of economic reasons.
Therefore, I decided to set up a homeschool program where teachers, non-teachers, parents etc join together and teach groups of students that range from distinct ages and grades. I was also considering paying these parents instead of having them work voluntarily because some of them do have financial needs.
I have been a teacher for over ten years and have a masters degree in administration and supervision and I would like to help these students and parents.
I would be charging an annual and monthly fee in order to economically sustain the homeschool.
I would greatly appreciate your input.
Thank you,
Angela

 

Angela,

Thank you for contacting me.What you’re describing sounds more like a homeschool supplement program.

I have several blog posts advising  people like you who want to offer services to homeschool parents.
http://homeschoolcpa.com/is-it-a-homeschool-co-op-or-mary-poppins/
http://homeschoolcpa.com/can-i-hire-a-homeschool-governess/
http://homeschoolcpa.com/homeschooling-other-peoples-children-is-it-legal/

1) The first thing to do is to find out if  what you want to do is legal under the homeschool laws of your state. Some states limit how much or how often a non-parent can instruct the student and still be considered homeschooling.

2) Then you need to determine if your idea is economically viable. You mentioned offering to pay parent/teachers, but also wanting to offer services to economically disadvantaged families. So who will come and pay the fee? Sounds like you need a detailed business plan with financial projections.

3) Next you need to determine if this is a nonprofit educational program or a for-profit business. A nonprofit requires assembling a board, creating bylaws, filing for nonprofit incorporation in your state and tax exempt status with IRS.

Forming a for-profit business is easier, but then you are not eligible for donations, grants, etc that you may need to be financially viable.

That’s a lot to think about. There’s still a lot to be decided including how often your plan to meet and where.

Let me know if you would like to discuss your ideas in further detail.

Carol Topp, CPA

Can I hire a homeschool governess?

Jane Eyre Pictures, Images and Photos

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Dear Ms. Topp,

I found your website while trying to research information on hiring a private homeschool instructor for a friend of mine.  She’s a single parent who adopted a now 12-year-old girl.  She’s having a little bit of a problem in public school and I thought it might be a good idea to homeschool her for her middle school years.

Can you point me to some information on whether my friend can  hire a homeschool instructor to work with her daughter?  I know this may sound crazy, but I keep thinking what her daughter needs is a governess.  Or maybe I’ve read too many Bronte and Austen novels.  Any help you could provide would be most appreciated.

Sincerely,

Gordon

 

Gordon,

I think you are absolutely correct in using the term governess to describe your friend’s situation.
I have a blog post titled “Is It a Homeschool Co-op or Mary Poppins?” that addresses a similar question.

I have been asked questions similar to yours several times, so it not an unusual idea. It is quite an old idea as you reference (Jane Eyre is a favorite!)

I would direct your friend to do research in three areas:
1. Her state homeschool laws and see if a non-parent is allowed to instruct a child. I imagine it is allowed, she may just have to report the governess’ name and subjects covered on an annual basis (we do here in Ohio, for example)

2. Employer laws in your state.  A local CPA would be helpful here. The governess may be considered a household employee and that has easier tax reporting requirements (like annually, not quarterly filing).  Employer taxes (Social Security and Medicare) will need to be paid.

3. Perhaps consult with an attorney to draw up an employment agreement.  Perhaps a professional tutor or nanny/au pair service in your area may have sample agreements to use as a guide.

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA

Homeschooling Other People’s Children. Is It Legal?

Dear Ms. Topp,

I found your website while trying to research information on hiring a private homeschool instructor for a friend of mine.  She’s a single parent who adopted a girl from Russia.  She’s having a little bit of a problem in public school and I thought it might be a good idea to homeschool her for her middle school years at least to focus on her language skills and other abilities.

Can you point me to some information on whether she can even hire a homeschool instructor to work with her daughter?  I know this may sound crazy, but I keep thinking what her daughter needs is a governess.  Or maybe I’ve read too many Bronte and Austen novels.  Any help you could provide would be most appreciated.

Sincerely,

G.A.

Dear G.A.

I think you are absolutely correct in using the term governess to describe your friend’s situation.
I have a blog post titled “Is It a Homeschool Co-op or Mary Poppins?” that addresses a similar question.

I have been asked questions similar to yours several times, so it not an unusual idea. It is quite an old idea as you references (Jane Eyre is a favorite!)

I would direct your friend to do research in three areas:
1. Her state homeschool laws and see if a non-parent is allowed to instruct a child. I imagine it is allowed, she may just have to report the governess’ name and subjects covered on an annual basis (we do here in Ohio, for example)
2. Employer laws in your state.  A local CPA would be helpful here. The governess may be considered a household employee and that has easier tax reporting requirements (like annually, not quarterly filing).  Employer taxes (Social Security and Medicare) will need to be paid.
3. Perhaps consult with an attorney to draw up an employment agreement.  Perhaps a professional tutor or nanny/au pair service in your area may have sample agreements to use as a guide.

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA

Is it a homeschool co-op or Mary Poppins?

I started my website HomeschoolCPA to help homeschool organizations, but sometimes the lines between a family homeschool and a homeschool organization get a little fuzzy. Here’s one example of the new and creative ways the people are homeschooling today.

I am considering starting a homeschool with a group of 5 children. They are all from different families and none of them is my own. I have a Masters degree in education and am comfortable working as an independent contractor. I plan on teaching these children in one of the boy’s home with the parents’ blessing. Is this legal? What do I need to do to set it up? Would the parents need to set up a homeschool co-op? I am having difficulty finding information about this for Maryland. Thanks for your help!

Mrs. A in Maryland

Dear Mrs A,

Congratulations on your new venture. Teaching other people’s children is certainly a legitimate business. You will be a modern day governess. (like Mary Poppins!)

marypoppins

I do not believe the parents need to set up a homeschool co-op. But you need to set up a small business. I recommend these steps:

* Pick a business name, although you can use your own name

* Consider opening a business checking account to keep your business and personal expenses separate (it helps at tax time)

* Have a written agreement with the parents about your duties and your fees (i.e. how much and when will you be paid)

* Keep good records of all our expenses, especially mileage. Read my Small Business Start-up Guide available to download here: Small Business Start Up Guide

* Set aside 20-30% of your income after expenses (i.e. 20-30% of your profit) to pay income tax and self employment tax. You will probably also need to make quarterly estimates payments to the IRS. Here’s a great blog to help you learn more about being self-employed. http://junewalkeronline.blogspot.com/

I’m not familiar with Maryland’s homeschooling laws, but here in Ohio we must notify if someone other than the parent does a majority of the instruction. Maryland may have a similar notification rule. You might want to do a little digging on-line and ask the families that are hiring you about Maryland’s homeschooling laws.

Best of success to you!

Carol Topp, CPA