Can my CC group become a nonprofit and use the Form 1023-EZ?

I have been a director of a homeschool educational group (Classical Conversations) as an individual DBA. I have been paid but the money goes back into paying others for my kids’ education and materials for the group – generally no profit. It is not an LLC or corporation. Can I incorporate in the state and file the IRS Form 1023-EZ form?
Jodi

Jodi,
Even though your CC business was not profitable, it was still a business. Having no profit does not make your business a properly formed nonprofit organization. To be a legitimate nonprofit organization you need a board, bylaws, and nonprofit mission.

By the way, your children’s tuition and homeschool expenses are not a business deduction on your tax return. So you may have been profitable from a tax perspective after all. See my ebook Taxes for Homeschool Business Owners for details on what are tax deductible expenses.

Therefore, you can convert your business to a nonprofit organization, but you will not be able to use the shorter, online IRS Form 1023-EZ to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.

The Form 1023-EZ specifically asks if the nonprofit organization is a “successor to a for-profit business.” The newly formed nonprofit would be a successor to your business because most of the assets or activities are taken over by the nonprofit.

So you must file the IRS full version Form 1023 to receive tax exempt status for the newly formed nonprofit organization. The IRS will request an explanation of your prior business and how the nonprofit is different from the business on Schedule G Successors to Other Organizations.

I addressed this specific situation in my first webinar of this series on Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community. You might find it very helpful to decide if you want your CC Community to convert to a nonprofit. I discuss the difference in mindset, setting up a board, and more.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

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

Set Up Homeschool Family as a Charity

Carol Topp, the Homeschool CPA is sometimes asked if a homeschool family can be a charity.  Sometimes a homeschool spouse wants to set up a business and hire their spouse to homeschool their children.

Can this be done?

Are there tax breaks for doing this?

R.A. writes, “I would like some preliminary information on setting up a 501(c)(7). I would like to set up my homeschool (my wife and 3 kids) up as a charitable organization. We have been homeschooling for 12 years.”

Here’s Carol’s reply to these situations on today’s episode of the Homeschool Leader podcast.

  • Can R.A. set up his family as a charitable organization?
  • What’s a 501c3?
  • What’s a 501c7?
  • What’s the difference between a 501c3 and a 501c7?
  • Why your family cannot be a nonprofit
  • Why you shouldn’t hire your spouse to homeschool your children.

In the podcast, Carol referenced a few sources from the IRS:

A nonprofit tax exempt organization must serve a public good, not the private interests of the founder or his family. The IRS is very clear on this point. https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/exemption-requirements-section-501c3-organizations

501c7 Social clubs must be formed for exempt purposes. Serving only your family is not an exempt purpose. See: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/other-non-profits/social-clubs

Carol has a few blog posts on this idea:

Incorporate yourself and write off homeschool expenses

Can my family’s homeschool be a nonprofit?

Is my homeschool a nonprofit?

Featured Product

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.

Flowchart for Starting a Nonprofit

While helping a homeschool organization in Washington, I found a nice 44 page book from WA state on forming a nonprofit.

https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/charities/training/starting-a-nonprofit-pdf.pdf

I really liked the flowchart on page 5. It has steps to take at the State level, the Federal level, with people, planning milestones and operations milestones.
Many tasks can be some simultaneously. Some must come after another. The flowchart shows all that!

It’s a lot to digest, but it puts all the important steps in one flowchart!

I created a checklist to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status. It is sequential; it doesn’t show that many tasks can be simultaneous, but it should still be very helpful.

If you’d like helping starting a nonprofit or apply for 501c3 tax exempt status, my webinars will help !

I have several services to help homeschool groups apply for 501c3 status.

Or you can arrange a phone consultation with me.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Where to get initial funding for a homeschool nonprofit start up?

A homeschool parent is launching a new homeschool program. Like many nonprofits, she needs some money to start up.

The main concern for our group at the moment are funds for filing (for nonprofit incorporation and 501c3 tax exempt status).

We have brained stormed and agreed on holding a spaghetti dinner fundraiser but we aren’t positive that this will bring the funds we are hoping for. Another idea is to present the exact cost to those members interested and see if they will be willing or able to divide the start up cost.

Sounds like you have an exciting adventure ahead of yourself by forming a  homeschool nonprofit!

You asked about initial funding. Many homeschool groups get their initial funding from donations (or loans) from the board members. You could also ask friends, family and potential members for donations.

Having a fundraiser or soliciting donations can be tricky because you need a bank account and to get that you need an EIN and you should get an EIN only AFTER you form a nonprofit corporation. But that’s what you need the funds for, so you’re caught in a Catch-22 cycle!

Additionally, some state require organizations to register before conducting a fund raiser or soliciting contributions from the general public. Here’s a source to see what your state requires: https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/nonprofit-compliance-guide

So it seems donations (or temporary loans) from the board members or potential members is your best option.

Helpful Resources

I have three podcast episodes  to explain starting a nonprofit or converting a homeschool business into a nonprofit organization. My podcast can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast The episodes are:

  • Episode 168 Part 1 Nonprofit basics
  • Episode 169  Part 2 Nonprofit corporation
  • Episode 170  Part 3 Tax exempt application

Additionally, I have a webinar that goes into much more in-depth on starting a nonprofit organization. Unlike the podcasts which are free, the webinar costs $10.


Get details for Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community webinar at HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

If you don’t want to be taxed on any surplus, then you’ll need nonprofit AND tax exempt 501c3 status for your new group. The webinar will explain that. 🙂

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

DIY 501c3 tax exempt status

In 2019 Carol Topp started an ambitious project. She set out to record 3 webinars to hep homeschool groups form a nonprofit and apply for 501vc3 status.

In this podcast she describes these 3 webinars.

Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofits

IRS and State Filings for Homeschool Nonprofits

(click each title for details)

The 3-video set plus resources, ebooks, checklists, etc. sells for $50

This 3-webinar set is great for:

  • Brand new start up homeschool groups
  • Existing groups that never formed as a nonprofit
  • Existing groups that never applied for 501c3 tax exempt status
  • Homeschool communities run as a business that want to convert to be a nonprofit organization

Learn more about this 3-webinar set to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.

New homeschool co-op wants simplicity. Any taxes due?

Hi Carol.
I started up a group of a few families last year as a homeschool co-op in our community. As we have grown a little more this year, I would like to start up a checking account.

My question is, after I get an EIN and open the checking account for the co-op, what is required at tax time, if anything, for having that account?

I don’t want to be recognized yet with the IRS as a 501c3, just for sake of simplicity at this time. Am I going to be required to do anything because of having this checking account?

We do not pay teachers, the account is strictly for fees and supply costs.

This semester we will only be taking in about $2,500 at max. and that is stretching it.

Thank you for your advice.
Callie


Callie,

I have answered your questions in some blog posts that you may find helpful:

Will getting an EIN put us on the IRS radar?

Best of: Checking accounts for homeschool organizations

We’re not 501c3 and don’t want to be!

The last blog post explains you have a few choices if you collect money and provide a service:

  1. Stay small and self declare 501c3 tax exempt status. This is the simplest option and the one I recommend for Callie’s organization.

    She will have to call the IRS once to self-declare her 501c3 status and get added to the IRS Exempt Organization database so the group can file their annual IRS Form 990-N.

  2. Consider another tax exempt status such as 501c7 social club. This is applicable to support groups or clubs, but not for Callie’s homeschool co-op.

  3. Apply for 501c3 status, especially if annual revenues exceed $5,000/year. I can help with that.

  4. Pay taxes as a for-profit business. That’s the least simple way to go! I don’t recommend it!


If you are starting or running a tiny homeschool program (usually less than $5,000 in income in a year), then you’ll benefit from my resources and podcast series for Tiny Homeschool Groups.

Tips for Starting a Tiny Homeschool Group


Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Does bank account need to be less than $5,000 to be self declared tax exempt?

We are a small group (43 families) starting a non-profit. We have used several of your free and purchased resources. Thank you for your work in this space.

Question…does the opening balance of the bank account need to be less than $5,000 to remain self declared?

We will be receiving about $5,000 from a now defunct homeschool group to help us start off.

Our annual income won’t exceeded $5,000, so we plan to self-declare our 501c3 tax exempt status. Will the account balance of over $5,000 be considered income of over $5,000?

Thank you in advance for any information you may provide.

 

 

Thank you for contacting me.  I’m glad my resources have been helpful.

You asked, “..does the opening balance of the bank account need to be less than $5,000 to remain self declared?
No. The IRS only looks at the annual gross revenues, not bank balances.

If the original groups wants to gift the new organization $5,000, that would be income (a donation) in the year it is received.  So that large donation could mean the new group has over $5,000 in gross revenues in that year.

But the IRS guidance* for self declaring 501c3 tax exempt status says:
normally not more than $5,000.”

A one time large gift would not be “normal,” so the organization could still self-declare 501c3 tax exempt status if your normal gross revenues are under $5,000/year. 🙂

I hope that helps!

* Source: Instructions for Form 1023 page 1 “Form 1023 not necessary.”

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

What does it cost to get tax exempt status?

How much does it cost to be a 501c3? My homeschool group is new and we don’t have a lot of money.
-Homeschool leader

 

Dear homeschool leader,

It’s not as expensive to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status as it used to be, especially if 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 of the cost to get 501c3 status 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. The cost of the webinar is $25.

 

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

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Top 10 Tips for Homeschool Leaders: Bylaws

“Are bylaws and a board really necessary or is that only for homeschool groups that are 501c3 nonprofits?” was a great question asked by a homeschool leader at a workshop given to homeschool leaders in Wichita, Kansas.

In this second part of a 5-part series on Top 10 Tips for Running a Homeschool Group, Carol Topp, CPA, will answer that question and discuss bylaws and boards. She even explains IRS 501c3 tax exempt status too!

 

Each episode can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast. In the 5 part podcast series Carol will cover:

Episode # 180 Board duties

Episode # 181 Bylaws

Episode # 182 Preventing fraud

Episode # 183 Paying Workers

I Episode # 184 Insurance and Record keeping

 

In the podcast Carol mentions how a tiny homeschool group should maintain its tax exempt status by filing and annual IRS Form 990-N. Here’s how to do that:

How to get added to the IRS database and file the Form 990N

 

You might find Carol’s podcast series for Tiny Homeschool groups helpful

Tiny Homeschool Groups: Are We a Nonprofit?

 

Featured Resource:

 

Start a Nonprofit and Get Tax Exempt 3-webinar set

Webinars are a great way to learn!

This 3-webinar set will help your homeschool group get established as a nonprofit, apply for IRS 501c3 tax exempt status and maintain it with IRS and state annual reports!

Everything you need to know in an easy-to-understand video format. This set includes the 3 videos (90 minutes each), an ebook The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization by Carol Topp, CPA, the slide handouts, IRS forms, and templates to help you apply for 501c3 status on your own!

Learn more.

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