Experienced Homeschoolers Offer Advice (podcast)

Carol Topp recently interviewed experienced homeschoolers at the HSLDA National Homeschool Leaders Conference. Listen to Carol’s lastest podcast as the leaders discussed:

  • Why they became a homeschool leader
  • What they wish they had known
  • What advice they have to offer you

Listen to the podcast

(I apologize for some of the poor audio! I’m improving, but I’m still learning about recording with lively background noise)

 

If you find this podcast helpful, please share it (below!) and leave a review on iTunes. (click on “View in iTunes” to leave a review)

How to leave a review on iTunes

Thank you!

Carol Topp, CPA

Win an iPad mini! Dollars and Sense Show podcast is a year old!

I launched a  podcast Dollars and Sense Show  a year ago this month!

The podcast is part of a podcast network, The Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network, where you can find podcasts for homeschoolers by homeschoolers.

The The Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network turns a year old this month and you can win a birthday gift-an iPad mini!

WiniPadUHRN

 

Enter here:

http://ultimateradioshow.com/giveaways/

You can also win a $25 gift card and other prizes. The celebration goes all the month of October.

Listen to my podcast Dollars and Sense Show. There are several episodes on starting or running a homeschool organization and I plan to have more shows to help homeschool leaders in the future.

If you like it, please leave a review on iTunes. Thanks!

 

Carol Topp

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization Part 2 podcast

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Do you pay workers in your homeschool organization?

Do you know what form to to filing with the IRS?

Homeschool CPA, Carol Topp, will share the details of what you need to know about paying workers in a homeschool organization in this 30 minute podcast. Part 2 of a 2 part series.

Listen to the podcast

 

Show Notes:

Applying for EIN. Use IRS Form SS-4. Read this helpful article first Getting an EIN from the IRS.

IRS forms to give to independent contractors (IC).

  • Use IRS Form W-9 to collect the IC’s legal name and EIN.
  • Read IRS Pub 15A Employers Supplemental Tax Guide.
  • Give Form 1099MISC to every IC paid more than $600 in a calendar year. Unfortunately Form 1099MISC cannot be printed on your home printer. You must order it from the ITS or buy a set at an office supply store. I use FileTaxes.com to file and mail Form 1099MISC.

IRS forms to give to employees

  • Collect a W-4 and an I-9 (Immigration) from each employee. Get employment forms at IRS.gov
  • Read IRS Pub 15 Employers Tax Guide
  • Give each employee a W-2 at the end of the year. (I use FileTaxes.com to file and mail the W-2’s to the employees)
  • Form 941 or 944 to pay your employer taxes (Social Security and Medicare). Find employment forms at IRS.gov.  I use FileTaxes.com to prepare and file 941/944 or fill in online print and mail.

What to do if you are paid by homeschool organization an receive a 1099MISC

  • File Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business of the Form 1040. List all your income and expenses from being a independent contractor.
  • Pay federal income tax and  self-employment tax (same as Social Security and Medicare for self-employed people) using Schedule SE (attached to your Form 1040.

If you find these forms confusing, consider a private consultation with Carol Topp, the Homeschool CPA. She can help you prepare and file the correct forms.
Carol mentioned a few helpful resources:

Cover Money Mgmt HS Org

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization (short ebook)

Questions and Answers for Homeschool Leaders (ebook)

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization (newly expanded) in paperback or ebook. The Paying Workers ebook is incorporated as a chapter in this book, so you don’t need to purchase both.

Other helpful books and articles for homeschool leaders can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com

 

Be sure to listen to the first part of this podcast (Episode #17) where Carol explains the difference between employees and independent contractors.

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization Part 1 podcast

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Do you pay workers in your homeschool organization?

Are they employees or independent contractors? Do you know the difference?

Homeschool CPA, Carol Topp, will share the details of what you need to know about paying workers in a homeschool organization in this 30 minute podcast. Part 1 of a 2 part series.

Listen to the podcast here.

Carol mentioned a few helpful resources:

Cover Money Mgmt HS Org

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization (short ebook)

Questions and Answers for Homeschool Leaders (ebook)

Money Management in a Homeschool Organization (newly expanded) in paperback or ebook. The Paying Workers ebook is incorporated as a chapter in this book, so you don’t need to purchase both.

 

 

Be sure to listen to the second part of this podcast when Carol shares what forms you need to be filing with the IRS when you pay workers.

More Money Myths Homeschool Moms Believe. Dollars and Sense Show #14

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In this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp and her guest Susan Raber of AtHomeAndSchool.com discuss more money myths that homeschool moms believe.

Listen to the show here
From Episode #13 of the Dollars and Sense Show, Carol and Susan discussed three money myths:

Myth #1: Just a Little More Money is All I Need…

Myth # 2:  I Need …..

Myth # 3:  It was on sale; I saved a lot of money!

On today’s show, Carol And Susan discuss two more money myths.

Myth # 4: Homeschooling is Expensive:

A study of 220 families spend between $300 and $1,000 per family each year. Private schools cost from $3,000-$10,000 year.  That’s expensive!

Truth:  Homeschooling is time consuming.

“Opportunity cost” is the cost of passing up a choice when making a decision.

Money tip:  Make up a homeschool budget.  Include books, field trips, classes, magazine subscriptions.

 

Myth # 5: I’ll use it someday

Truth:  You don’t know what the future holds

Ask yourself:

  1. Am I going to use it now or in the near future? Beware of buying things with the reasoning, ‘I’m not sure when I’ll use it, but I’ll use it someday.’  Tell yourself, “If it’s that good, it will be there when I need it.  If not, something better will replace it”
  2. Where is it going to go?  Make sure you have a clearly designated space otherwise it increases your clutter.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Five Money Myths and remember them as we enter the homeschool convention shopping season!

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on April 24, 2014 when Carol will start a series on tips for teenagers or parents wanting to start a micro business.

 

Money Myths Homeschool Moms Believe. Dollars and Sense Show #13

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In this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp and her guest Susan Raber of AtHomeAndSchool.com discuss money myths that homeschool moms believe.

Listen to the show here

Do any of you, like me, have curriculum sitting on your shelf, that, if you are honest with yourself, you will probably never use?

I want to share some experiences I’ve learned about money and homeschooling.  I call it the Five Money Myths that Homeschool Moms Believe

Myth #1:  Just a Little More Money Will Solve All My Problems

Truth: Problem is not lack of money, but lack of contentment

Contentment Robbers: mail order catalogs, magazines, malls, etc… For homeschoolers the list is similar:

  • homeschool catalogs,
  • homeschool curriculum fairs,
  • homeschooling web sites and forums,
  • homeschooling magazines
  • and even (gasp) other homeschoolers

I personally do not look at the Sunday sale ads.  I didn’t know I needed stuff until I saw the ads!  So I stopped looking. Maybe it’s the same with you.  What are your contentment robbers?

Here’s some advice:

  1. Only look at catalogs when you have a specific need
  2. Use a shopping list at curriculum fairs. If it’s not on the list, you don’t need it.

Myth # 2:  I Need …..

Truth:  Wants are different from needs

Do you think that you just have to have a certain item (whether you need it or not) just because another homeschooler has it?

Here are some tips:

  1. Don’t buy things sight unseen
  2. Don’t buy more than one year of a new text

Myth # 3:  It was on sale; I saved a lot of money!

Truth:  Money is not saved unless there is a deposit into the bank!

As yourself: Is the sale price a good value?

My daughter was looking at an audio book catalog with deeply discounted prices.  “How can they sell these audio books so cheaply?” she asked me. “The original price was $500 and they’ll sell it for $150.” Perhaps, it never sold at $500 and it’s only worth $150. Is the $150 a good value?

Tip: If you buy something on sale, put the difference in a savings account.  Use the savings for future homeschool needs.

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on April 10, 2014 when Carol and Susan will discuss More Money Myths that Homeschool Moms Believe.

 

Teens and taxes. Dollars and Sense Show #12

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In this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses taxes and teenagers.

Listen to the show here

Show Notes:

 A teenager files their own tax return!  Do NOT add your child’s income to your tax return.

You can still claim your teenager as your dependent. They check a box stating they are claimed as a dependent on your tax return.

Major taxes affecting teenagers: earned income, unearned income, and self-employment tax.

 Earned Income from a job or micro business (including babysitting). Federal income tax is owed if earned income is more than $6,100 (in 2013)

 Unearned Income: interest, dividends, capital gains on taxable accounts in the student’s name. Federal income tax is owed if unearned income is more than $1,000. Between $1,00 and $2,00 unearned income is taxed at child’s tax rate. More than $2,000 unearned income is taxed at parent’s rate  on Form 8615 (“Kiddie tax”)

Self-Employment Tax

Same as Social Security and Medicare for self-employed people. 15.3% of profit over $400. Unadjusted since 1954 (adjusted would be $6,250). Schedule SE attached to Form 1040. Reported on Line 56 under Other Taxes on back of Form 1040. (the “hidden” tax)

Example: $5,000 profit earned by single teenager. Income tax $0. SE tax $706!

If you’d like to see this changed, visit MicroBusinessForTeens.com/eliminate-tax-on-teen-entrepreneurs for a position paper you can share with your congressman.

 Exception to SE tax for teenage Household Employee: Students under age 18 working in or around an individual’s home is a household employee are not subject to SE tax. Report wages on Form 1040 Line 7 with “HSH” as note. Examples: babysitting, lawn care, house cleaner

 Teenagers scammed: Treated as independent contractor instead of employee.
Signs: Paycheck with no SS/Medicare withheld. Paid in cash. 1099MISC not W-2.
Action: Complain to employer. File complaint with IRS (Form SS-8) and Form 8919 to pay half SS/Medicare.

Resources

Teens and Taxes ebook by Carol Topp, CPA available at TeensandTaxes.com
Money and Taxes in a Micro Business by Carol Topp, CPA available at MicroBusinessForTeens.com
IRS Understanding Taxes website http://apps.irs.gov/app/UnderstandingTaxes

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on March 27, 2014 when Carol will discuss 5 Money Myths that homeschool moms believe.

 

Any tax breaks for homeschoolers? Dollars and Sense Show #11

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In this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses tax breaks for homeschoolers.

Listen to the show here

Show Notes:

There is no federal tax credit or deduction for homeschool expenses

Some states do allow a deduction, usually on state income tax. Proposed in Ohio: Property tax deduction for homeschool expenses

Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana and Minnesota and all have some sort of tax break for individuals. The credit is available to any public or private school student, so it is not unique to homeschoolers.

Links:
This website has a comparison of state programs that offer a tax credits for educational expenses or for a donation to a scholarship fund. It was last updated in September 2011. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/educcred.pdf

Home School Legal Defense Association has an explanation of some states’ tax breaks or credits:http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200504150.asp

Ann Zeise of A to Z Home’s Cool has a great, detailed and lengthy post of tax write-offs for homeschoolers:
http://a2zhomeschooling.com/laws/homeschool_laws_legalities/tax_writeoff_educational_writeoffs/

 Disadvantages of tax breaks for homeschool expenses:
We have an overly complex tax system already
Fear of government regulation, proof of homeschooling, etc.

 

Remember tax deductions and credits just reduce the tax you pay.

Your state government is not putting cash in your hand to purchase books. You must do that first.

Then you pay a little bit less in tax via a tax deduction.

 

Tax breaks for parents

  • Exemptions: $3,900 per person in 2013.
  • Child tax credit. $1,000 per child. Ends when child turns 17, not 18! Law says child “was under age 17 at the end of the year.”
  • Earned Income Credit
  • Child care deduction (if working for pay)
  • Educator Expense deduction (not allowed for homeschoolers because the teacher-parent is not employed by a school for 900 hours in a school year)
    • There is a bill in the US House of Representatives to allow home school parents to take this deduction. HR 1850 sponsored by Rep Tom Cole, R-OK.

Education credits/deduction

  • American Opportunity Credit (used to be called the Hope Credit) up to $2,500 per student. Tuition, books and equipment. First 4 years of undergraduate college.
  • Lifetime Learning Credit: up to $2,000 per tax return. Tuition, books and equipment. Undergrad, graduate and courses to acquire or improve job skills.
  • Tuition/fees deduction: Up to $4,000. Cannot claim tuition deduction and AOC/Lifetime for same student in same year.
  • Student loan interest deduction. $2,500 deduction.
  • Some states allow 529 deduction (Ohio)

College savings incentive

  • 529 plans offered in many states. Known an Qualified Tuition Programs (QTP). Tax free earnings when used for tuition, books, room and board.
  • Coverdell Education Saving Account (also known as Education IRA). $2,000 contribution per beneficiary per year. Tax free earnings when used for tuition, books, room and board. Can also be used for k-12 expenses.

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on DATE when Carol will discuss NEXT EPISODE TITLE

 

 

Teach teenagers about money: Dollars and Sense Show # 10

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In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses teaching your teenagers about money.

Listen to the show here 

Show notes:

Recap: Our motivation to be teaching kids about money:
Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government.
Avoid excessive debt. College debt now exceeds credit card debt.
Someone is watching!
Avoid boomerang kids. We are raising adults, not children

How to Teach
Natural style. As you go about your day. Real life examples.
Get someone else: Sunday school, Scouts, Homeschool co-op
Focused teaching: Family nights, games, books

What to Teach: Teenagers

  • What things cost and what jobs earn.
  • Career exploration. Post high school education.
  • Checking accounts and financial software (Ace Money Lite is free)
  • Budgets. One teenager is given $150/month in allowance, but she has to buy everything: clothes and gas.
  • Avoid credit card debt (but start building credit history in college)
  • Student loan debt. With her dad out of work, a college student chose a  state school when show the debt she would have.
  • Taxes and federal spending
  • Entrepreneurship. Micro Business for Teens. Ethan pays his own cell phone bill. Linnea pays her way to China.
  • Investing. Stock Market simulation.

Resources:
Career Exploration article Pursuing Their Dreams: Career Exploration for High School Students

Schoolhouse Teachers offers my Career Exploration 8 week class

Free! National Endowment Financial Education (NEFE) High School Financial Planning Curriculum http://www.hsfpp.org/

Generation Change for youth groups and Foundations in Personal Finance for schools at http://DaveRamsey.com

Discovering God’s Way of Handling Money from Crown.org 10 weeks , individual or class
Money Matters for Teens Ages 15-18 Edition by Larry Burkett (oldie but still available on Amazon.com)

Micro Business For Teens books at http://MicroBusinessForTeens.com

Starting a Micro Business television show on YouTube

Our federal budget graphically displayed at http://WallStats.com

Tax return simulations from the IRS at Understanding Taxes www.irs.gov/app/UnderstandingTaxes

 

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on February 27, 2014 when I will discuss tax breaks for homeschoolers.

Carol Topp, CPA

 

Teach pre-teens about money: Dollars and Sense Show # 9

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In this episode of the  Dollars and Sense Show host Carol Topp discusses teaching your pre-teens about money.

Listen to the show here 

Show notes:

Recap: Our motivation to be teaching kids about money:
Other people’s bad examples are all around us, including the US government.
Avoid excessive debt. College debt now exceeds credit card debt.
Someone is watching!
Avoid boomerang kids. We are raising adults, not children

How to Teach
Natural style. As you go about your day. Real life examples.
Get someone else: Sunday school, Scouts, Homeschool co-op
Focused teaching: Family nights, games, books

What to Teach: Pre-teens

  • Allowance. Not always in cash. Try a clothing allowance
  • Savings Account. Power of compound interest. Match their savings.
  • What things cost. Houses, cars, pets, clothes, etc. Explain sales tax.
  • What people earn. Occupations.
  • Start earning money. Extra chores around the house or for family and neighbors. Really motivated kids should read Micro Business for Teens

Resources:

Boy Scouts, American Heritage Girls money badges
The Secret of Handling Money God’s Way from Crown.org Ages 8-12. 12 lessons. individual or class
Money Matters for Teens Age 11-14 Edition by Larry Burkett (oldie but still available)

Career Exploration article Pursuing Their Dreams: Career Exploration for High School Students
Schoolhouse Teachers offers my Career Exploration 8 week class
Micro Business for Teens
Starting a Micro Business television program on YouTube

Kids can play popular online money management games such as Road Trip to Savings, Financial Football, Peter Pig’s Money counter, Money Metropolis, Financial Soccer, Record shop tycoon, Burger Restaurant

 I’m not familiar with these games, so if you have an opinion for or against, please drop a note in the comments.

Tune in for the next Dollars and Sense show on February 13, 2014 when I will discuss teaching your teenager about managing money.

Carol Topp, CPA