If I’m Not a Homeschool Leader, What am I?

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many homeschool leaders have no group to lead. Some may enjoy the break from responsibilities, but other feel lost and lonely without their groups.

Carol Topp, the HomechoolCPA, is joined by Doreen Browning, co-moderator of the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group and Jamie Buckland, Classical Program Consultant.

Listen as Carol, Doreen and Jamie discuss:

  • Leaders without a group can feel lost, lonely and without a purpose
  • Perhaps this is the time to “pour in” instead of the usual pour out
  • Resources to help you pour into yourself or others (see below)
  • Keep up with board meetings.
  • Do some things you never have time to do.
  • You need to be replaceable!

In the podcast, Jamie mentioned some resources she uses to “pour in” to being a better leader. Here’s her list:

Carol Topp has found these resources to be very helpful:

  • Homeschool Organization Board Manual by Carol Topp, CPA- a template to create your own board manual of important documents and a training guide for board members. Read more below…
  • BoardSource.org– lots of good articles for nonprofit board members in their resource library
  • Lessons From The Nonprofit Boardroom: 40 Insights For Better Board Meetings by Dan Busby and John Pearson

Join the Facebook group for homeschool leaders: I am a Homeschool Group Leader. 1200+ homeschool leaders offer ideas, encouragement and respectful exchange of ideas. https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/


Jamie Buckland, the Classical Program Consultant is available for phone consultations regarding starting and running a classical homeschool group. Contact her at https://jamiebuckland.net/


Homeschool Organization Board Manual

Homeschool board members should keep all their organization’s important papers in a safe and accessible place. Usually, a 3-ring binder works well.

Author and homeschool advisor, Carol Topp, CPA, has created a Homeschool Organization Board Manual. It is a template to create a board member binder. It has:

  • A list of important documents to keep in your binder
  • Section dividers so you can organize the important papers
  • Tools to help you run your meetings smoothly including
  • A sample agenda that you can use over and over again
  • A calendar of board meetings

But this is more than just a few cover sheets for your binder. It is also a 55-page board training manual with helpful articles on:

  • Suggested Board Meeting Topic List
  • Board Duties
  • Job Descriptions for Board of Directors
  • What Belongs in the Bylaws?
  • Compensation and Benefits for Board Members
  • Best Financial Practices Checklist
  • How to Read and Understand Financial Statements
  • Developing a Child Protection Policy

How are nonprofits monitored, regulated, and governed?

A homeschool leader asked me recently, “Who holds nonprofit organizations accountable? Is it the IRS?”

While there are some issues, such as taxes and tax-exempt status, where the IRS has some oversight of nonprofits, the true watchdogs of nonprofit organizations are their own boards and their states.

BoardSource.org has a article that explains who monitors and regulates nonprofit organizations. They list the organization’s board of Directors as the “first line of defense against fraud and abuse.” The board is followed by the states’ Attorney General, the IRS, donors and finally the media.

No government agency exists exclusively to monitor the activities of nonprofits

BoardSource.org

“Nevertheless, nonprofits have many lines of defense against fraud and corruption:

  • Boards. All nonprofits are governed by a board of directors, a group of volunteers that is legally responsible for making sure the organization remains true to its mission, safeguards its assets, and operates in the public interest. The board is the first line of defense against fraud and abuse.
  • Private watchdog groups. Several private groups (who are themselves nonprofits) monitor the behavior and performance of other nonprofits. Some see their mission as serving as advisors to donors who want to ensure that their gifts are being used effectively; others are industry or “trade” groups that provide information to the public and encourage compliance with generally accepted standards and practices.
  • State charity regulators. The attorney general’s office or some other part of the state government maintains a list of registered nonprofits and investigates complaints of fraud and abuse. Often the state attorney general serves as the primary investigator in cases of nonprofit fraud or abuse. Almost all states have laws regulating charitable fundraising.
  • Internal Revenue Service. A small division of the IRS (the exempt organizations division) is charged with ensuring that nonprofits are complying with the requirements for eligibility for tax-exempt status. IRS auditors investigate the financial affairs of thousands of nonprofits each year. As a result, a handful of organizations have their tax-exempt status revoked; others pay fines and taxes. In 1996, legislation authorized the IRS to penalize individuals who abuse positions of influence within public charities and social welfare organizations. Formerly the only weapon available to the IRS was to revoke tax-exemption, which resulted in the denial of service to the clients and constituents the organization was created to help. Because they fall short of revocation of tax-exempt status, these provisions are called intermediate sanctions.
  • Donors and members. One of the most powerful safeguards of nonprofit integrity are individual donors and members. By giving or withholding their financial support, donors and members can cause nonprofits to reappraise their operations.
  • Media. Most of the major scandals involving nonprofit organizations in recent years have surfaced as a result of media investigations and the resulting news stories. While many nonprofit leaders feel misunderstood or even maligned by negative media coverage, this media watchdog role has resulted in increased awareness and accountability throughout the sector.”

The full article (and many more excellent articles about nonprofit boards) is available at :

https://boardsource.org/resources/legal-compliance-issues-faqs/


Resources for Homeschool Boards

So how is your board doing in its oversight and prevention of fraud and abuse?

My book Money Management in a Homeschool Organization devotes a chapter to helping your nonprofit avoid financial mismanagement.

Additionally, the Homeschool Board Member Manual will help train your board in its duties and help organize your important papers.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Stay Connected with Your Homeschool Group During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and the requirements to practice social distancing has meant that many homeschool groups can no longer meet face-to-face. How can homeschool groups stay connected during this time?

Carol Topp, the HomechoolCPA is joined on today’s podcast by Doreen Browning, co-moderator of the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group and Jamie Buckland, Classical Program Consultant.

Listen as Carol, Doreen and Jamie discuss:

  • How we can enjoy and redeem this time of isolation and refocus on homeschooling and our families.
  • How to encourage interactive communication, not just one-way communication.
  • Tools to use to stay connected: some new and some very old school (mail and phones!)
  • While we are having a health emergency, there is no educational emergency.
  • Are we too dependent on our co-op classes and tutors?
  • Encourage parents that they are equipped to homeschool their children without your wonderful group!

Join the Facebook group for homeschool leaders: I am a Homeschool Group Leader. 1200+ homeschool leaders offer ideas, encouragement and respectful exchange of ideas. https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

Webinar: Starting an Academic Homeschool Program

Are you interested in starting a homeschool program with a classical and academic focus? Jamie Buckland started Appalachian Classical Academy (ACA) after running a for-profit classical community. Now she is the Executive Director of ACA. She explains how ACA is set up with not one but two boards to run the Academy as a nonprofit organization!

Jaime and Carol teamed up to present a webinar on the ABCs of Starting an Academic Homeschool Program. You can benefit from their combined knowledge in this webinar (and you’ll get several helpful resources as well). http://homeschoolcpa.com/how-to-start-an-academic-homeschool-program/


Jamie Buckland, the Classical Program Consultant is available for phone consultations regarding starting and running a classical homeschool group. Contact her at https://jamiebuckland.net/

Closing Your Homeschool Group During COVID-19

Has COVID-19, the novel corona virus pandemic, caused your homeschool group to close, suddenly? How did you make the decision to cancel your program?

Carol Topp, the HomechoolCPA, is joined on today’s podcast by Doreen Browning, co-moderator of the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group and Jamie Buckland, Classical Program Consultant.

Listen as Carol, Doreen and Jamie discuss:

  • Making hard decisions to close your homeschool program.
  • The benefits of having a team help you make quick decisions under stress
  • What to do if there is push back about your decisions.
  • Future decisions about re-opening.

Join the Facebook group for homeschool leaders: I am a Homeschool Group Leader. 1200+ homeschool leaders offer ideas, encouragement and respectful exchange of ideas. https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

Webinar: Starting an Academic Homeschool Program

Are you interested in starting a homeschool program with a classical and academic focus? Jamie Buckland started Appalachian Classical Academy (ACA) after running a for-profit classical community. Now she is the Executive Director of ACA. She explains how ACA is set up with not one but two boards to run the Academy as a nonprofit organization!

Jaime and Carol teamed up to present a webinar on the ABCs of Starting an Academic Homeschool Program. You can benefit from their combined knowledge in this webinar (and you’ll get several helpful resources as well). http://homeschoolcpa.com/how-to-start-an-academic-homeschool-program/


Jamie Buckland, the Classical Program Consultant is available for phone consultations regarding starting and running a classical homeschool group. Contact her at https://jamiebuckland.net/

Speech and Debate Club – Unsure of Its Setup?

Carol Topp, the Homeschool CPA, is frequently asked by small homeschool groups if they are setup up correctly.

Do they owe taxes?

Do they need to be a nonprofit corporation?

Henry  writes, “Can a small homeschool education club focused on speech and debate be categorized as an “unincorporated association” and therefore not apply for recognition by the IRS and not file taxes?

Less than $2,000 pass through the club to pay for insurance and facilities…

This club formed in 2015 and I joined last year and become the director this year. I am wondering if we are structured correctly…”

Listen to Carol’s reply to Henry’s questions on today’s episode of the Homeschool Leader podcast.

  • Can the Speech and Debate Club be a 501c3?
  • Do they need to be a formalized entity?
  • Should they get an EIN?
  • What should they do to be structured correctly?
  • Do they owe taxes?

In the podcast, Carol mentioned how a small nonprofit like Henry’s club can self-declare 501c3 tax exempt status. Carol has a few blog posts on self-declaring 501c3 tax exempt status and the filing the IRS annual notice, Form 990-N:

https://homeschoolcpa.com/how-to-get-added-to-the-irs-database-and-file-the-form-990n/

https://homeschoolcpa.com/irs-form-990n-faq/

In the podcast I mentioned my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization

Does your homeschool group need to pay taxes? Could they avoid paying taxes by being a 501c3 tax exempt organization? Do you know the pros and cons of 501c3 status? Do you know what 501c3 status could mean for your homeschool group?

I have the answers for you in my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. The information I share in my book has been helpful to homeschool support groups, co-ops, music and sports groups and will help you understand:

  • The benefits of 501c3 status
  • The disadvantages too!
  • What it takes to make the IRS happy
  • What your state requires
  • Why your organization should consider becoming a nonprofit corporation
  • What is the difference between nonprofit incorporation and tax exemption
  • IRS requirements after you are tax exempt

The webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community is also helpful.

The webinar is 90 minutes and covers:

  • The difference between a business and a nonprofit
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit
  • Forming a board: who can be one it, what do they do, etc.
  • Creating bylaws
  • Drafting a budget
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Forming a nonprofit corporation in your state
  • The timeline to get this all done
  • The expense to accomplish this

Stuck inside doing your taxes?

Are you stuck inside because of illness, social distancing, or the corona virus?
Well, it’s a good time to work on your tax return!
(Not what you wanted to hear, I’m sure!)


I hear from lots of CC Directors and tutors about their taxes. It can be confusing running a business, paying tutors, etc.

If you’re confused about takes, I have a book for you!

I am pleased and proud to announce my latest book, Taxes for Homeschool Business Owners!
Read more here.

I have spoken and emailed with so many CC Directors, tutors and teachers at homeschool programs that are confused about their taxes. This is my attempt to keep you out of trouble with the IRS!

This ebook is a great resource for:

  • Tutors or teachers for a homeschool program paid as an Independent Contractor
  • Classical Conversations(R) Directors
  • CC tutors
  • Coaches, musicians, artists, etc. hired to teach at a homeschool co-op


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?

I hope you find the ebook and the webinar helpful this tax season!

Missing your homeschool group because of COVD-19? Join other leaders on Facebook

COVID-19 probably means your homeschool group has cancelled meeting for several week.

It gets lonely without our regular homeschool groups, doesn’t it?

Well, now might be the time to meet other homeschool group leaders who know how you feel.

I moderate a Facebook group called

I am a Homeschool Group Leader

Come join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

We are about 1200 homeschool leaders from across the USA (and a few foreign countries) who share tips, information, and offer encouragement and support.

We talk about all kinds of things from problem parents, finding volunteers, managing activities, and cancelling groups because of the corona virus.

Now more than ever, we need each other and technology can help us get through this very difficult time.

Thanks for all you do in running your organizations! You’re my heroes!
See you on Facebook!

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com

Conflict of Interest: Paid Teachers as Board Members in a Homeschool Group

A homeschool leader is concerned about a conflict of interest if she wants to be a board member and paid teacher.

Jessica, who wants to start a homeschool co-op emailed HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp this situation:

“I have a question about the conflict of interest issue. Three ladies and I would like to incorporate to teach classes together and form a co-op. If we are the three board members, then does that mean we cannot profit by also teaching? Do you have any article that clarifies that?”

Listen as Carol explains:

  • The conflict of interest between being on the board and being paid by a nonprofit
  • Inurement and self-dealing
  • Why it is not a good practice for nonprofit to have paid staff also serve as board members.
  • Three options Jessica has:
    • Form a 3-way partnership (a for-profit business)
    • Have a separate, independent board that hires teachers as staff
    • Grow the board so the majority is not paid teachers

Featured Product

In the podcast I mentioned my webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit?

Forming a board: who can be one it and what do they do?

How hard is it?
What are the steps to take?
How fast can it get it done?
How much will it cost?

I have recorded a webinar to answer all these questions and more!

Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

Paying Volunteer Teachers

A homeschool leader asks if the way her group pays volunteer teacher is legal.

Holly, a homeschool group leader emailed HomeschoolCPA Carol Topp this situation:

“I need guidance on the method with which our organization’s volunteers are paid teacher fees. We are collecting cash from all the members for their children’s class fees, and redistributing it to the teachers for their class payment.

Apparently this is being done to simply the process and so members do not have to write checks. I am concerned this is an illegal practice.”

Listen as Carol explains:

  • Whether this is legal
  • Are these teachers really volunteers?
  • Should the teachers be employees or Independent Contractors?
  • What Holly’s organization needs to do regarding paying teachers
  • A simpler option

Featured Product

In the podcast I mentioned my book

Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization

Are you paying workers in your homeschool organization?

  • Can a volunteer be paid?
  • Should a worker be treated as an employee or independent contractor?
  • Do you know the difference?

Homeschool leader and CPA, Carol Topp, has the answers to your questions in her book Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization.

This 130 page book covers paying workers as employees or independent contractors. There are also chapters on paying volunteers and board members. It includes sample forms, tips and advice to help you pay workers in accordance with the IRS laws to help your organization pay their workers correctly. Written specifically for homeschool organizations.

San Antonio, Austin and Houston: Q&A with HomeschoolCPA this week

San Antonio, Austin and Houston, Texas will all be getting live Q&A time this week with Carol Topp, CPA, the Homeschool CPA!

San Antonio: Tuesday February 25, 2020
from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
on the lovely grounds of
Family Educators Alliance of South Texas (FEAST)
7735 Mockingbird Lane • San Antonio, TX • 78229
Register here for San Antonio

Austin: Wednesday February 26, 2020
from 6:30-9:15 pm
at
Calvary Worship Center (North Austin, close to TX 45 & N Mopac Expy)
14901 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78728 
More information and to RSVP for Austin

Houston: Thursday February 27, 2020
from 6:30-9:15 pm
at
University Baptist Church  (Chapel area)
16106 Middlebrook Dr
Houston, TX 77059  
More information and to RSVP for Houston

Each event is free, but the organizers would appreciate you register so they have a head count.

The San Antonio event is sponsored by Family Educators Alliance of South Texas and the Austin and Houston events are sponsored by Texas Homeschool Coalition with much appreciation!


Each event will have:

  • A brief session presented by Carol Topp, CPA, the HomeschoolCPA on “Topp Tips for Running a Homeschool Organization”
  • A Town Hall session for you to ask question and get advice from other homeschool leaders
  • Q&A time with Carol Topp, CPA
  • Professional advice on finances, legal structures, taxes, employees, insurance, etc.
  • A chance to look at HomeschoolCPA’s books
  • An opportunity to be encouraged by other leaders who understand you!

I hope to see you in San Antonio, Austin or Houston!

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders