I’m a Classical Conversations Director. Do I have to file any forms with the IRS?

On April 15 last year (you know, that day the personal tax returns are due!), I received this email:

I need to be sure I don’t have any tax forms to file with IRS. This was our first year as a CC community, with only 2 tutors and 12 children.
-Name withheld to protect the guilty

Dear Name withheld,

As a Classical Conversations (CC) director, you are a small business owner. CC  supplied you with some training materials about running your CC community as a business.

You should have given your tutors a Form 1099-MISC to report the income you paid them. The Form 1099-MISC is to be given to each tutor by January 31 each year for the income paid in the prior year. A copy is also sent to the IRS. It sounds like you missed that deadline.

By the way, you cannot simply print the Form 1099-MISC from the IRS website. You must order forms from the IRS, purchase them at an office supply store, or use an online filing program like Yearli.com (that’s the service I’ve used to file my 1099-MISC).

You should also have reported your income and expenses from your CC business on your personal income tax return, using Form 1040 Schedule C Profit or Loss from Business.

If you had a profit of more than $400 for the year, you will also owe Self-Employment Tax. It is calculated on Form 1040 Schedule SE.

I’m afraid you are very late in filing these forms! You may owe a penalty for late filing your 1099-MISC forms. You may need to file an amended federal income tax return (Form 1040X)  if you failed to include your CC income and expenses. You may also need to amend your state income tax return.

I strongly recommend that you look over your CC training materials and then contact a local CPA to discuss amending your  federal and state income tax returns.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

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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

image Photobucket

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