Is my homeschool graduation fundraiser breaking the law?

Hi Carol,
The past 3 years we have held a graduation. The graduate families have been doing the fundraising, with the amount earned going into our checking account and then paid out for speakers, food, programs, and etc. I am concerned after reading your book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization: A Guide For Treasurers that we have been doing this all wrong!
 Are we instead supposed to fund raise as a whole group, and have graduation as a budgeted item in place of creating the graduation fund in our checking account?
Thank you so much for all your help!

Heidi,

 

Heidi,

The fundraising to pay for the graduation expenses is fine. The fundraiser proceeds are going to an event that your homeschool organization operates, not to individual families.

What is prohibited by the IRS is private inurement which is when an organization earmarks fundraiser proceeds as belonging to specific families to defray their specific and particular expenses. That’s a no-no. The purpose of those fundraising monies to to further your exempt purpose (homeschooling), not to give a financial break to specific, individual families.

There was a homeschool group that showed me their spreadsheet of about 10 fundraisers(!) and the 20 families that participated and how each dollar of profit from the fundraiser was divvied up to each family. Yikes! It was a record-keeping marvel, but prohibited by the IRS! I warned them to cease and desist immediately.

I think the graduation event should be included in your budget with both the revenues (parents paying money and the fundraisers proceeds) and the expenses (speakers, food, programs, etc) recorded.

 I hope that helps,
Carol Topp, CPA

 

 Learn more about managing money and IRS tax exempt status for your homeschool organization

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Frugal homeschooling has drawbacks

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I read Cindy West’s blog post Warnings Against Frugal Homeschooling on Our Journey Westward blog.

It caught my attention. What could possibly be wrong with frugal homeschooling?

Cindy opened my eyes to potential problems in using all free materials (or too many freebies) in homeschooling.

Listen to the podcast here

 

In the podcast Cindy mentioned a few guides she uses to help plan her children’s academic progress. Read about them on her blog post Homeschooling Frugally: A Cautionary Tale

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Cindy West is the author of NaturExplorers nature study guides and Charlotte Mason Homeschooling. Find them at Shining Dawn Books.

Pros and cons of leading a homeschool co-op video

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At the Indiana Association of Home Educators 2014 conference, I spoke to homeschool leaders about

Tips and Traps for Homeschool Leaders

In this video I discuss the pros and cons of leading a homeschool co-op and your responsibility as its leader.

In the video I mentioned a handout. You can download it here: http://wp.me/aF6pa-1c4

I hope the video is helpful.
For other videos for homeschool leaders visit HomeschoolCPA.com/Videos

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Could you please give me a minute (and review my books)?

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Have you benefited from reading any of my books?

Did Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out make starting co-op a little easier?

Did the information in The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization get your organization tax exempt status?

Have you read through the list of practices to avoid embezzlement in Money Management in a Homeschool Organization? (yes, unfortunately, homeschool groups can be a victim of theft)

Could you please leave a short blurb on Amazon? It doesn’t have to be long. Just a sentence saying something like:

Really helpful!

Clear and easy to understand.

Essential for running a homeschool organization.

Here’s the links to make it easy for you.

Homeschool Co-ops book the original edition had 16 reviews, but this new edition has only 5 reviews :(. It needs a boost.

IRS and Your Homeschool Organization book (This book has zero reviews! I really need your help here!)

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization book (This book has zero reviews, too! It really needs some!)

I appreciate your time and effort!

Thank you!

Carol Topp

3 Tools for Running a Successful Homeschool Co-op (video)

Are you in a homeschool co-op or thinking about leading one? I have some advice for you! (I even write a book about homeschool co-ops!).

Here’s a video clip from my recent presentation of Homeschool Co-ops Are Like Marriage: Know What You’re Getting Into given at the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention in 2014.

Part 5 is titled 3 Tools for Running a Successful Homeschool Co-op.

In the video I mentioned my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

Here’s a handout for the presentation.

More clips from this presentation can be found at HomeschoolCPA’s YouTube Channel.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

More homeschool organizations receive tax exempt status from the IRS

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Congratulations to two homeschool organizations that recently received tax exempt status with the IRS!

TACHE, the Tyler Area Christian Home Educators, is a homeschool co-op in Tyler, Texas

Homeschool Teen Serve is a charitable organization encouraging service projects performed by homeschool teenagers headquartered in Omaha, NE.

I was happy to help both these organizations receive 501(c)(3) tax exempt status for the IRS.

Do you know the pros and cons of 501(c)(3 status? Do you know what 501(c)(3) status could mean for your homeschool group?

My book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization could help your group as well.


This 120 page book explains the pros and cons of tax exempt 501(c)(3) status. Is it needed? Is it worth it?

Price: $9.95

Learn more here.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

 

 

3 Important Things to Remember About Homeschool Co-ops (video)

If you’re in a homeschool co-op or leading one, I have some advice for you! (I even write a book about homeschool co-ops!).

Here’s a video clip from my recent presentation of Homeschool Co-ops Are Like Marriage: Know What You’re Getting Into given at the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention in 2014.

Part 4 is titled 3 Important Things to Remember About Homeschool Co-ops.

 

In the video I mentioned my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

I also created this handout for the presentation.

Watch the other portions of the presentation on HomeschoolCPA’s YouTube Channel.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Tips for starting a homeschool co-op (video)

Ever thought about starting a homeschool co-ops? I’ve got a book that will help!

Here’s a clip from my recent presentation of Homeschool Co-ops Are Like Marriage: Know What You’re Getting Into given at the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention in 2014.

Part 3 is titled Tips for Starting a Homeschool Co-op

 

In the video I mentioned my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

I also created this handout for the presentation.

Watch the other portions of the presentation on HomeschoolCPA’s YouTube Channel.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Preventing child abuse in your homeschool group

Hello Carol,

Thank you so much for all the insight you have offered! I am looking for information on background checks, and creating abuse prevention policy in our homeschool co-op. I have found vague info on how to protect children, but I am looking for written policy to implement. Could you please share with me any resources on this topic you may have.
Thank you for all your time,
Heather K.
Heather,
Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad the website was helpful.

I usually recommend homeschool leaders contact a large, local church and speak with the children’s director. They will have lots of information on background checks and policies. They may even share their policy with you.

National Center for Life and Liberty (NCLL) offers a short ebook “Preventing Child Abuse in Your Ministry” by Attorney David Gibbs III. You can download it for free (after giving, name, email, address and phone number) at http://www.ncll.org/resources/free/2014/august . It was quite good and offered general guidelines of what to have in a child abuse prevention policy, but it does not have a sample policy.
You might also join this Facebook group I belong to and ask your question there:
I Am a Homeschool Group Leader https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/
I hope that helps,
Carol Topp, CPA

The Disadvantages of Homeschool Co-ops (video)

I love and encourage homeschool co-ops (I even write a book about them!), but, like marriage, it’s best if you know the disadvantages of joining a homeschool co-op.

Here’s a clip from my recent presentation of Homeschool Co-ops Are Like Marriage: Know What You’re Getting Into given at the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention in 2014.

Part 2 is titled The Disadvantages of Homeschool Co-ops

 

In the video I mentioned my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out.

I also created this handout for the presentation.

Watch the other portions of the presentation on HomeschoolCPA’s YouTube Channel.

 

Carol Topp, CPA