Classical Conversations knowingly exposes churches to tax liabilities

(Photo Courtesy of JJ Veale

Classical Conversations, Inc. (TM), Inc. has been the subject of two investigative reports written by Josh Shepherd in 2021.

I was interviewed by Josh and quoted in the first article Whistleblowers Say Classical Conversations is Multi-Level Marketing Scheme that Exploits Homeschooling Parents.

I shared some background information in my blog post Does Classical Conversations Exploit Homeschooling Parents?

The second article titled “Classical Conversations Knowingly Exposes Unsuspecting Churches to Tax Liabilities, Sources Say” was released last week.

It reveals that in addition to exploiting homeschool parents, Classical Conversations knowingly and deliberately has been exposing churches to property tax liabilities.

Background


I first became aware of the problems with Classical Conversations “communities” (they are really businesses owned by a licensed CC Director) in 2017 when a CC Director in Illinois emailed me. She was having difficulty finding a church to host her CC business (what she called “a community”).

I replied to her question and explained the churches were concerned about their property tax exemption.
I thought Illinois was a particularly stringent state and did not think this was a wide spread problem. I was wrong. Very wrong!


Then in 2018 I heard from a CC Director in WA State having the same problem.

I started to realize that CC meeting in churches could be a problem in many states!

After hours of research, calling tax assessors and helping scores of CC Directors, Jamie Buckland of Classical Homeschool Consultant has determined that 47 states have restrictions on for-profit businesses using tax exempt property of churches. Only KY, TX and OK seem to not care much about for-profit use of a property-tax-exempt church building.

In April 2019, a pastor emailed me and explained he has received an anonymous letter with links to my website. This was the first time I’d heard of this letter.

I gave him a lengthy reply.

Then it all exploded!

Letters to churches expose the truth

Robert Bortins CEO of Classical Conversations, Inc. hosted a webinar for CC directors to discuss their opinion on CC “Communities” meeting in churches. The webinar was transcribed by one of the attendees and sent to me.

We also found out that the letter originated in Cincinnati, Ohio, …
Um, one of the accountants that they linked to in their letter lives in that state as well and so we followed up with that CPA to find out if we could discuss this matter with them, you know, as Christians are called to do and also offered to let her speak with our legal counsel so that she could gain a more full view of the matter that was referenced in the letter and that was referenced on her website. Unfortunately, she declined such an invitation. And so of course, that was sad to hear because we wanted to make sure she was well-informed of the laws as well.

Robert Bortins, transcript of “Q and A with Robert Bortins” webinar April 17, 2019

He implied I had sent the letters.

I didn’t. Why would I? I had already posted two blog posts that the letter referenced years earlier.

Robert Bortins came very close to committing slander against me during that webinar. I believe Robert Bortins did commit slander and libel against me in private conversations and tried to ruin my reputation and my business based on social media posts shared with me.

slander: the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation; make false and damaging statements about someone.


I did not send the letters. I do not know who sent the letters. I had no involvement in these letters sent to churches.

Nasty emails came my way like this one:

Because of you, my community has no place to meet. We are moms sacrificing a lot to live off of single incomes to stay home full time with our kids. I hope the money was worth it to you because obviously you don’t care about the people you’re speaking to. Such a stereotypical accountant. Actually, much nastier than any accountant I’ve met. 

Noelle, an angry CC mother

I visited an attorney and she advised me to reply individually to emails which is what I did. She also reminded me that I did not need to speak to CC’s legal counsel to “gain a more full view of the matter” or “be informed on the laws” by CC, Inc. or their legal team. If I need legal counsel, she would provide it to me or recommend another legal expert on property tax law.


FAQ on Churches and CC

In an attempt to get clear information to homeschool groups, CC Directors and churches I wrote a FAQ page. It was referenced in the article on The Roys Report.

And I wrote a a follow up blog post Tax Assessor Clears Confusion on CC Communities Using Churches that was also referenced in the investigative report by Josh Shepherd.


My real concern is for the churches who were innocently or ignorantly (or perhaps deliberately) deceived by CC Directors. The Directors hid the fact that they were business operating in a church.

Some were ignorant of why they were instructed by CC, Inc. to tell a church host “We’re just a bunch of homeschool moms” or “we’re a Christian homeschool program.”

CC Directors, as instructed by CC, Inc., hid the fact that they were businesses operating in a church. Some Directors had the gall to ask for free rent for their “community” (remember it’s really their business) too!

There is a saying that a whole truth told as a half truth is a whole lie!

Yes, CC communities are “a bunch of homeschool moms.” That’s a half truth told as a whole truth. The half omitted is that the CC “community” is a BUSINESS!

The local CC Director may not have understood the difference prior to 2019, but CC, Inc. has understood the difference since at least 2016, probably much earlier! In fact, they sent a cease and desist letter in June 2016 threatening financial damages to a CC mom, April Palmer (as mentioned in the article), who told ten local churches that the CC communities they were hosting were profit businesses.

A homeschool mom tells ten local churches the truth and CC Inc. threatened her with a lawsuit.

Why?

Telling the licensed Directors and churches the truth would damage their business model which depends on churches not knowing the truth that CC “communities” are businesses owned by each Director. It’s crass to say, but it’s all about the money to CC Inc.


My concerns for churches and homeschool groups

I am concerned for churches potentially facing property taxes like the two mentioned in the article and perhaps unrelated business income tax because they believed they were hosting a legitimate nonprofit homeschool program.

And I am concerned that all homeschool groups may be viewed suspiciously by churches. This can make it harder for the legitimate, honest nonprofit homeschool groups to find church hosts (post COVID). I’ve been told of churches now asking homeschool groups for IRS 501c3 determination letters to prove the group is a nonprofit organization.

Shame on CC Inc. for making churches suspicious of all homeschoolers.

Shame on CC Inc. for putting churches at potential risk of incurring property tax.

Shame on CC Inc. for duping your own customers (i.e., licensed Directors), by not explaining the full truth to them, exposing them to potential liability (owing payment of a property tax bill to the church).

And shame on CC Inc. for not changing their business model back in 2016 (or earlier) and instead continuing to reap large financial rewards while putting all the risk and liability on CC Directors and churches.



Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Convert your homeschool group to a nonprofit corporation and keep your EIN!

We started as a homeschool group in 1998. I don’t think any bylaws or articles of incorporation were ever filed. So we were just an unincorporated association, as I leaned from reading your books. We are now adding classes to our program and want to move through the process of filing to be tax exempt as a 501c3. We will file Articles of Incorporation to re-form as a nonprofit corporation.

Should I file for a new EIN or just use the current one?

Lisa in California

Lisa,

Lisa’s homeschool group was an unincorporated nonprofit organization that now wants the benefits of limited liability for her members and board that nonprofit incorporation offers.

For years I told small homeschool groups:


“If you decide to incorporate as a nonprofit corporation in your state, then you must get a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) because you have formed a new, legal entity. It’s like a new baby was born and that new baby needs a new Social Security Number.

But now the IRS lets nonprofit organizations keep their EIN if they are just converting from an unincorporated association to a nonprofit corporation and not changing their “business structure,” meaning you were operating as a nonprofit organization (with a board, bylaws and a nonprofit purpose) and will continue to do so.

To use my baby and Social Security Number analogy: it’s like Lisa’s baby decided to grow up. It looks different now, but it is the same child and can keep its original Social Security Number. Lisa’s homeschool group “grew up,” but is still the same organization. It can convert to a nonprofit corporation and still keep it’s original EIN with the IRS.

The IRS website says:

“You will not be required to obtain a new EIN if any of the following statements are true….
Conversion at the state level (to be a corporation) with business structure remaining unchanged.”

Source: IRS.gov Do you need a new EIN.

So, you don’t need a new EIN if your unincorporated association converts to be a nonprofit corporation! That’s saves a lot of hassle!

But if your homeschool group is a for-profit business, owned by someone, like a Classical Conversations Community owned by the CC Director, then the business structure has changed and you’ll need a new EIN for the new nonprofit corporation.


My book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization: Tax exempt Status for Homeschool Organizations will be very helpful as you apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.

If you have questions about nonprofit incorporation, 501c3 tax exempt status, or running your homeschool group, contact me.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Does Classical Conversations exploit homeschool parents?

Classical Conservations Inc. CEO Robert Bortins Jr. addressed thousands of homeschooling families in a simulcast broadcast from Albemarle, North Carolina on October 18, 2017, . (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Josh Shepherd an investigative journalist, has been researching the business practices of Classical Conversations for several months.

He released an article on the Roys Report titled “Whistleblowers Say Classical Conversations is Multi-Level Marketing Scheme that Exploits Homeschooling Parents” at https://julieroys.com/does-classical-conversations-exploit-homeschooling-parents/

It’s an interesting, eye-opening, and thought provoking articles. I was interviewed by Josh Shepherd for the article and I am quoted in it several times because I have had so many conversations and business consultations with CC Directors in the past few years.

Background on Classical Conversations’ business model

Classical Conversations is a unique homeschool business. It offers curriculum to homeschool families and once -a-week “communities” where “tutors” display to the students and parents how to implement the curriculum in their homeschool. The “communities” have the feel of a nonprofit homeschool co-op, but the “communities” are almost always for-profit businesses owned and operated by each Director. Each Director agrees to a licensing agreement with Classical Conversations Inc. that is similar to a franchise agreement. Each Director sends a significant portion of her income back (averages about 15%) to CC Inc. as a licensee, much like a franchise operator does.

I became aware of the franchise-like business structure of CC, Inc. and its Directors around 2015. In 2017, I became more and more concerned as I spoke with many CC Directors at homeschool conventions and via email and found they were very confused. Many did not realize they had agreed to operate a business. Many had made significant mistakes on their tax returns. I began creating several blog posts on my HomeschoolCPA.com website to clear up their confusion.

My concern is now and always has been for the individual Directors because I care about homeschool group leaders. I want CC Directors to have the information they need to make a wise decision before they become CC Directors. I also want them to stay out of trouble with the IRS and state and local authorities.

Taxes for CC Directors ebook


As early as 2013 I offered more than once to write an ebook for CC Directors to a local CC Area Representative in Ohio. I never heard from CC Inc., so in the fall of 2017 I decided to write a book myself and help the poor, confused CC Directors I had been hearing from stay out of trouble with the IRS.

I told Robert Bortins, CC Inc. CEO at the 2017 HSLDA National Leaders Conference that I was writing a book titled Taxes for CC Directors and he thanked me for the support I gave to CC Directors.

In November 2018, I received an email and arranged a phone call with Keith Denton, COO of CC Inc. They wished to have distribution rights to the ebook. I thought that would work well, since I would find it difficult to reach CC Directors myself to tell them about the book. (I am not allowed to join Facebook groups for CC Directors since I am not a Director myself.) So I agreed. CC paid me $2,500 for the sole rights to distribute the ebook.

I sent Keith Denton my initial version of the book on Taxes for CC Directors in January 2019. After 1400+ corrections and additions by their attorney and two months later, CC added the 60 page ebook to their Directors Licensing Guide, a rather large online-only guide for licensed Directors.

Very shortly after (in August 2019) CC directors emailed me saying they could not access the ebook. Some people claim that CC bought the distribution rights and then “buried” the book. It made me wonder why they would pay for the rights and then not distribute it to each CC Director.


I rewrote the ebook after the major tax changes in 2019 and to appeal to a larger audience. I released it January 2020. It is now called Taxes for Homeschool Business Owners and available here.


CC Directors carry all the liability

My concern for CC Directors grew. I have concerns about the liability they take on when they agree to start a community and become a licensed Director for CC. They are responsible for:

  • Hiring workers (tutors) and correctly classifying them as employees, payroll processing and taxes, employee application and background checks
  • Building lease and rent, building safety and insurance, and potentially harming the church’s property tax exemption by operating a for-profit business on church property
  • Safety of children and all adults participating which includes physical safety, health and COVID precautions, and mandatory reporting of suspected abuse.
  • Daycare licensing if the community offers a nursery
  • Tax reporting including 1099-NEC or W-2 filings for workers and Schedules C and SE on their individual tax returns
  • Financial management including invoicing parents, record keeping, paying bills, etc.
  • Not using using volunteer labor or allowing Independent Contractors (i.e., tutors) or employees to volunteer
  • Business registration and licensing at the state and county level
  • Complying with all the requirements in the CC licensing agreement including operating the program, hosting information meetings, attending training sessions, etc.

That’s quite a long list of responsibilities and potential areas of liability for a CC Director.

How much does a CC Director actually make?

In the article Josh shared a chart of income and expenses from several CC Directors. The fee they must pay to CC Corp averages 23% of their total revenues. Most Directors paid 15% of their revenues to CC Corporate. The profit from all their efforts averaged $2,811 working about 20 hours a week for a school year. The profit ranged from a $5,772 loss to $12,603 profit.

I think this information will be helpful for potential CC Directors to examine and ask themselves if the potential profit is worth the hours that a Director must put in to operating a CC community.

Source: https://julieroys.com/does-classical-conversations-exploit-homeschooling-parents/
*Data supplied by Carol Topp, CPA. ^Director G used non-standard accrual accounting during the two years reported. The person recorded income over two semesters, yet had to pay all CC fees in the fall semester.

Many CC Directors tell me that they operate a community not to make a profit but to benefit their children with a classical education. I frequently hear, “I am a Director to help pay for my children’s tuition.” That’s very honorable, but that same purpose can be accomplished without taking on the financial, legal, and safety liabilities of running a CC program.

Almost all homeschool programs operate as nonprofit organizations with limited liability for their leaders and members. CC Communities are a noticeable exception. Nonprofit organizations also have a board or team of leaders to help carry the responsibility. CC Directors carry all the burdens alone since it is their business.

Is being a CC Director worth the liability?


Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders



Paying a homeschool leader to start business and benefit the homeschool group

We are a new unincorporated nonprofit association and our Director has applied to become a notary. Can we use our fundraising funds to cover the cost for her to become a notary?

She would be offering complimentary notary services to all our members. We would charging a fee for notary services for people who are not members of our homeschool group. What are the legal ramifications for this?

Thank you for your time and assistance!

TA in Illinois

Dear TA,

Thank you for contacting me.

Your homeschool group should not pay for the Director to become a notary. That’s like your homeschool group paying for someone to attend medical school if they promise to give free physical exams to all members. No! Okay, that’s an extreme example, but you get the idea. 🙂

Your homeschool organization’s purpose is educational, not to fund someone’s business.

Becoming a notary is a business expense for an individual and your nonprofit should not be paying personal, business expenses for an individual.

The IRS could see this as “inurement” which is when the assets of a nonprofit (the money from fundraising) flows to benefit an individual. Sometimes it’s better called “private benefit” or “self-dealing.” Inurement is strictly forbidden by the IRS and could cause your organization to lose its tax exempt status. That’s a pretty serious legal ramification!

Don’t pay for the leader’s personal expenses to become a notary with the nonprofit’s funds.

Additionally, making money by charging nonmembers for services that are not related to your purpose (education) is called Unrelated Business Income and is subject to income tax. So that’s a financial ramification on your Director’s idea.

I discuss unrelated business income and the tax here: What is Unrelated Business Income Tax?

And in this podcast episode:
What is Unrelated Business Income Tax or UBIT? (podcast)

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping homeschool leaders

Does my homeschool group have to be tax exempt?

Does my homeschool groups have to be tax exempt? It seems like a lot of work, cost and government intervention.

Many of our members and the board members don’t want to be a 501c3. Do we have to be? We just want to keep things simple.

-Homeschool leader

Dear homeschool leader,

No, your homeschool group doesn’t have to be tax exempt, but then it will owe taxes on any surplus it has each year. I understand the desire to keep things simple, but, trust me, filing a corporate tax return (Form 1120) tax return is NOT simple!

It’s also not as much work to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status you you are fearing, especially of your organization is small (revenues less than $50,000/year) and is eligible to file the shorter IRS Form 1023-EZ.

Here’s an explanation from my webinar on 501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofits


This webinar (90 minutes total length) will explain the benefits of tax exempt status, the application process and walk you through the application Form 1023-EZ line-by-line. At the end of the webinar you’ll be equipped to apply for tax exempt status by yourself.

Get more information on the webinar 501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofits

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Tax and record keeping help for CC Directors

Carol,

I will be a director with Classical Conversations (TM) for the upcoming year and I wanted to keep track with all finances and stay on top of all the things for taxes but I am unsure of how to do that or find someone knowledgeable with something like Classical Conversations.

Would you be able to direct me in a better direction with things?

-Jillian M


Jillian,

Good for you to realize that directing a Classical Conversation program is a business and you need to be concerned about taxes and record keeping. Sadly, I have heard from many CC Directors that they had no idea they were running a business. Some have made terrible mistakes in their tax filings.

I have several resources for you:

Taxes for Homeschool Business Owners

The ebook is 60 pages long and contains information on

  • Business Start Up
  • LLC status
  • Tax Deductions
  • Tax Forms
  • Sample Tax Returns
  • Self Employment Tax
  • Paying Yourself
  • Paying Others
  • Businesses Using Churches
  • Should My Homeschool Program Be a Nonprofit?

Business Q&A for CC Directors: Answers You Need to Run Your CC Business

This 50 page ebook is a collections of questions CC Directors have asked the HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA over the past few years. Carol answers each question and cover topics such as:

  • Business Set up: LLC status, nonprofit, ministry or business, checking accounts, record keeping
  • Relationship with your church-host: taxes for the church
  • Taxes: What forms to file, 1099-MISC, tax deductions
  • Employees: Independent Contractor or employee

I hosted a webinar on Tax Preparation for Homeschool Business Owners. It should be a lot of help to you as a CC Director. You can watch the recording at HomeschoolCPA.com/HSBIZTAXES for a small fee of $10.


Bookkeeping spreadsheet for CC Directors is a free download.

I hope that helps!


Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping homeschool leaders

How can our board members lead and get paid for it?

Hi Carol,
We have questions about how and if we are able to file as a 501(c)3 so that our directors can continue to lead the group while getting compensated for their time and efforts. Do you have any resources for this type of information?

Thank you for your time,

Lisa R

Lisa,

You asked an excellent question about how “our directors can continue to lead the group while getting compensated for their time and efforts.”

It is very difficult and sometimes not possible or desirable to compensate your board members. It creates conflicts of interest, self-dealing and could be forbidden by your state nonprofit laws and even exclude your organization from being granted 501(c)(3) tax exempt status by the IRS.

I’m glad you mentioned that you are in California because California has a law that forbids more than 49% of a nonprofit board to be composed of compensated individuals (or their family members).

This website (from nonprofit lawyers in California) explains the 49% rule:

Under California Section 5227, not more than 49% of a public benefit corporation’s governing body may be composed of “interested directors,” defined as –
(a) Any person who has been compensated by the corporation for services within the last 12 months, and
(b) Any member of such a person’s family.

Source: https://www.adlercolvin.com/what-every-nonprofit-b…
Scroll down to C. Conflicts of Interest and read the entire section.

One more resource in plain English is The California Attorney General’s Guide to Charities. http://npocpas.com/assets/guide_for_charities.pdf….
Go to page 20 and read 3. Duty of Loyalty and Conflict of Interest.


So in a nutshell, your board members need to be independent from conflicts of interest. Being compensated creates a conflict of interest.

I discourage nonprofit boards from being compensated. Most nonporift advocates encourage board members to serve as volunteers.

But you have two options:

Your board needs to be large enough that the individuals being compensated are the minority and are not guilty of self dealing or conflicts of interest. That may be very difficult to do.

Or the other option is to hire help like a bookkeeper or administrative assistant who would not be board members. This may free up the board to serve as volunteers and then have no conflicts of interest.

My book that addresses paying board members is Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization

I hope that helps,

Carol Topp, CPA

Seeking a homeschool group needing 501c3 status

A classical homeschool program in California no longer needs its 501c3 tax exempt designation and is willing to transition it to another homeschool organization. Isn’t that marvelous?

The organization will be operating as a ministry of a local church and no longer operate as a separate entity. Rather than waste all the time and effort going into establishing a nonprofit corporation and applying for 501c3 tax exempt status, they are willing to transfer its tax exempt status to another homeschool program. How generous!

To be eligible to receive the nonprofit corporate and 501c3 status your program must:

  • Be located in California
  • Be a homeschool organization, preferably a classical education program
  • Be a religious organization (Christian)
  • Be a new organization without an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Not be incorporated as a Nonprofit corporation in any state
  • Must have a board of at least three unrelated people ready to file paperwork and launch a homeschool program

The recipient will get:

  • Nonprofit incorporation in California as a religious corporation with a specific purpose to provide a classical, Christian, home-centered education.
  • An Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • 501c3 tax exempt status
  • Bylaws
  • Help with the transition paperwork from a current member of the board.
  • (Optional) Phone consultation with HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp, CPA and a board member to explain the transition and future filing requirements with the IRS and California. An hourly consultation fee of $85/hour payable to HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp, CPA applies.

These benefits would typically cost $300-$600 and several months of time. Being given this is a huge blessing to the right organization, saving time and money!

After the transition occurs, the new leaders can:

  • change the bylaws
  • add new board members
  • change the organization’s name to something else.

The new leaders MUST be willing to do several things including:

  • Agree to let one of the current board members remain on the board until all the transition paperwork is complete.
  • File the IRS Form 990/990-EZ/990-N  and all required California filings annually
  • Change the EIN’s Responsible Party name and address with the IRS
  • Change the California Agent for Service
  • Change the mailing address with the IRS and California

Is your group interested in this opportunity?

If so contact the board member liaison at cahomeschoolnonprofit@gmail.com.

Tell your story, your dreams for your homeschool program, something about your leaders, and why your program should be chosen.

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Helping homeschool leaders

Getting an EIN from the IRS

Many homeschool organizations find they need to open a checking account for their group expenses. The bank or credit union will ask for an EIN, Employer Identification Number. This number is similar to a Social Security Number for a business or nonprofit organization. It’s actually misnamed. You don’t need to be an employer to obtain an EIN. They are offered for free by the IRS.

Sometimes a leader opens a checking account and uses her Social Security Number (SSN). This is not recommended. If a personal checking account is used for handling the homeschool organization’s business, the cash in it could be seen as the leader’s personal income in the eyes of the IRS. I’m sure she doesn’t want that! Additionally, an unpopulous leader could run off with the money that is the organizations and there is nothing the organization can do about it!

Before you get an EIN

Before you get an EIN, you must first properly and legally form a legal entity. The IRS puts it like this: “If you believe your organization qualifies for tax exempt status (whether or not you have a requirement to apply for a formal ruling), be sure your organization is formed legally before you apply for an EIN.

To legally form a nonprofit organization you need three things:

  1. A board of at least three people (preferably unrelated).
  2. Bylaws which explain the mission and structure of the organization. If you don’t have bylaws. Sample bylaws are available at HomeschoolCPA.com/Samples
  3. An “organizing document” which would be either Articles of Incorporation (highly recommended and most common) or Articles of Association for an unincorporated association. Articles of Incorporation are filed in your state, usually the Secretary of State office. Most states have a form for you to use.

Sample Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Association are available at HomeschoolCPA.com/Samples.

I compare forming a new organization to birthing a baby. Only after the baby is born can you apply for a SSN. The same is true for birthing a nonprofit organization. First the “baby” nonprofit must be born by a board drafting bylaws and filing Articles of Incorporation with their state. Then the baby nonprofit can apply for an EIN.

Getting an EIN from the IRS

Go to www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc755.html for more information on the EIN. The IRS uses Form SS-4. I highly recommend you look it over carefully. Keep a copy for yourself.

To get your EIN quickly, apply on line by going to the IRS Online EIN service at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online

After all validations are done you will get your EIN immediately upon completion. You can then download, save, and print your EIN confirmation notice.

EIN Tips:

  • Under Type chose” View Additional Types” and then “Other Nonprofit/Tax Exempt Organizations.” Educational organizations (which is what homeschool groups are, falls into this category).
  • Under “Reason for applying,” check the box “New business” or “Banking purposes”
  • The “Responsible party” is the person who exercises ultimate effective control over the entity. This is any one of the officers (Chair, Secretary or Treasurer). Some people are concerned about giving their Social Security Number to the IRS. This does not tie your personal taxes to the homeschool organization. It’s just the IRS’s way to be certain a true, living human being is applying for the EIN. The Responsible party can be changed in the future by filing IRS Form 8822-B. 
  • Your name on the EIN must match your legal name chosen when you filed Articles of Incorporation with your state’s Secretary of State.

If you have questions about applying for an EIN or the Form SS-4, read the chapter on “Checking Accounts Done Right” in my book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization

If you have questions about setting up or running your homeschool organization, visit HomeschoolCPA.com or consider a private phone consultation.


Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Looking ahead to 2021 for HomeschoolCPA: Weddings, retirement and more!

Most of us are happy to wave goodbye to 2020 and look ahead to 2021! HomeschoolCPA agrees.

I’m looking ahead to 2021 when both of my daughters will be getting married! And the weddings are planned to be only 5 weeks apart in early March and mid-April 2021.

Two weddings to plan in one year is keeping me very busy! Planning two COVID weddings is even more difficult!

You may have noticed I’ve not posted a blog post in over a month and not kept up with my podcast either. Now you know why!

Retirement and semi-retirement

In May 2021, my husband will be retiring. He will turn 60 (!) and his employer is giving an incentive for him to retire, so the timing seemed to work well!

I’m going to be semi-retiring as well, so that we have the flexibility to travel (post COVID) and do other things together. And I have really been enjoying my hobby of painting and want to pursue that more.

Carol Topp posing with “Roebling Bridge” her first piece chosen for an art exhibition in 2019.

HomeschoolCPA will still be here!

So even though I plan to semi-retire, this website will still be here offering helpful information for homeschool leaders. My books and webinars are still available. I may be airing previous podcasts episodes that are still helpful to homeschool leaders.

You will see some new faces. I’ve mentored several people over the past few years and they will be sharing blog posts and perhaps some podcast episodes in 2021. These are people I trained and trust that they can serve you well. I’ll be introducing them a bit later in 2021.

So later in 2021, you’ll be encouraged to turn to one of my mentees for questions, advice, phone consultations, and help getting and maintaining 501c3 tax exempt status.

I’ll be here if my mentees run into a complex situation and want guidance.

So that’s my plan for 2021: two COVID weddings, semi-retirement, and mentoring others to help homeschool leaders so I can travel and paint more! Sounds like a great plan.

But as 2020 taught us, anything can happen! We just do our best and carry on!

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders