How the IRS sees homeschool groups (podcast)

IRS and homeschool groups

UPDATE: This podcast episode originally aired in 2015. But it is still accurate and helpful in 2021, 6 years later!

In this episode of the Dollars and Sense Show podcast, host Carol Topp continues her topic “Who’s Afraid of the IRS?” and discusses how the IRS sees homeschool co-ops, nonprofit incorporation, for-profit homeschool groups, and what happen when a nonporift loses its 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Listen to the podcast

Listen to the first part of this presentation where Carol discussed homeschool support groups as IRS 501(c)(7) Social Clubs and co-ops as 501c3 Educational organizations.

Get a copy of the handout.

More information

Carol mentioned the article “Do You Know About IRS Required Filings for Homeschool Organizations?” Get it here.

Carol’s book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization, is available here.

The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Can a Micro School be a Homeschool Group (and avoid some headaches)?

Meridian Learning (www.meridian-learning.org) is hosting a Grassroots Microschools Online Conference

Wednesday June 30, 2021 10 am -1 pm ET

It will be hosted on their Grassroots Microschools Facebook page. Details here: https://fb.me/e/SsS86E05

This conference is free for the live event. The recording will be available to Galaxy and Constellation members of Meridian Learning in their member resource library. Follow their Facebook page for session previews, and RSVP via PM or email for event link: join@Meridian-Learning.org.

I pre-recorded a session titled: “Can a Micro School be a Homeschool Group (and avoid some headaches)?

In the session, I explain the difference between homeschool groups and micro schools. I also share a litmus test I use to determine of a micro school can call themselves a homeschool group (legally).

During and since the COVID-19 pandemic, I have heard from more and more groups that call themselves homeschool groups, but I wonder if they are really micro schools or something in between!

For example, I have heard from:

  • A group for 7 special education students that will meet 5 days a week and hire 2 qualified instructors.
  • A pandemic pod leader who wishes to continue her pod composed of her two children and five additional children meeting in her home four days a week.
  • A group that started homeschooling during the pandemic and now has has 15 pre-schoolers and 20 1st-3rd graders with one hired teacher operating Monday-Friday 8:30-3:30 pm.
  • A group of 1st and 2nd graders that will meet three days a week, 9:30 am -2:00 pm and charge $5,000 in tuition per year.

Is it legal for some of these groups to call themselves homeschool groups? Or are they micro schools?


Join the Grassroots Microschools Online Conference on June 30, 2021 and listen into my session on “Can a Micro School be a Homeschool Group (and avoid some headaches)?”

Event details at https://fb.me/e/3PX81wbbA

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

IRS threatens to deny 501c3 status to homeschool group

UPDATE: The IRS sent the homeschool group their 501c3 tax determination latter on July 19, 2021! Victory! Read more to learn what HomeschoolCPA wrote to the IRS to change their mind.

It’s my worst nightmare: The IRS denying one of my homeschool clients 501c3 status.

As a CPA who has helped over 200 homeschool organizations apply for 501c3 tax exempt status over the past 20 years, I have never had a client be denied tax exempt status by the IRS. Until May 2021.

An IRS employee is considering denying 501c3 status to my client, a small homeschool co-op in California. She is claiming that this group of 35 families is only serving themselves and not serving a “public interest.”

This could set a very bad precedent if homeschool nonprofits are denied 501c3 tax exempt status.

While on a phone call with the IRS specialist, I explained that homeschool groups are a lot like private schools, offering classes, etc and that some private schools are smaller than 35 families.

She said,
“Yes, but you homeschoolers want a tax break.”

IRS Exempt Organization employee on phone call on May 17, 2021

Wait! What? Did I hear her correctly? I informed the IRS that there are no federal tax breaks for homeschool families.

She then went on to explain that I needed to read Rev Ruling 69-175 because that is her basis for denying 501c3 tax exempt status to a homeschool group.

I contacted HSLDA and CHEA of California for their assistance. Then I got to work researching, reading, studying and writing. I had four attorneys and three other experts in nonprofit tax exempt status read my document.

I faxed the IRS a 5-page document with facts and details how a homeschool co-op is broadly serving the community and not just private interests. I also explained why Rev Rul 69-175 does not apply to this client’s situation.

As of June 17, 2021 we have not received the IRS determination.

I’ll update this post when we hear back.


I’d like to ask for prayers for clarity of thinking for the IRS and a favorable reply for this homeschool co-op and all homeschool groups applying for 501c3 tax exempt status.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Do we have to file as a non-profit to be an official homeschool co-op?

We are a group of families that came together last year to work collectively in sharing the role of teaching each other’s children one day a week. We have lots of interested families that want to join us next year. I’m thinking Co-Op is the way to go, but I’m still not sure of the road ahead.

Do we have to file as a non-profit to be an official Co-Op?



Well, I’m not sure what you mean by “official homeschool co-op.”

Perhaps you mean an “official” nonprofit organization.

As soon as you have a board, mission, and bylaws your organization IS a nonprofit organization!

It is an unincorporated association, but it is still a nonprofit organization. There is usually nothing to file at the state level to create an unincorporated association. The filing starts (at the state level) when you chose to be come a nonprofit corporation, as many co-ops do.

There is no such thing as an “official co-op.” The homeschool classes that you call “a co-op” are the main program or activity that your nonprofit organization operates. The nonprofit organization may also offer other activities such as parties, clubs, field trips, etc.

This blog post explains what an unincorporated association is: My Homeschool Group is an Unincorporated Association. What Does That Even Mean?

I think my Homeschool Co-ops book would be most helpful at this point.

Or my webinar on Create a Nonprofit for your Homeschool Community would be helpful at this stage as well.

If you still have questions (and you probably will!) I would be happy to arrange a phone consultation with you. I charge $85/hour for a consultation with a nonprofit organizations. $60 minimum. Contact me.

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping Homeschool Leaders

Using Zoom and Giving Refunds (podcast)

During the COVID-19 pandemic many homeschool programs used Zoom to stay connected with members. Three group leaders share how they used Zoom in their programs in this podcast episode.

In June 2020, Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA.com hosted a webinar titled Planning an Uncertain Future for homeschool group leaders. The purpose of the webinar was to help homeschool groups plan their fall activities given the COVID-19 pandemic was making it uncertain of they could operate.

This podcast will air the webinar highlights in small chunks over six episodes.

Join this episode and the other episodes as Carol and three panelists discuss: 

  • Part 1: Making decisions as a board or team
  • Part 2: Tools a homeschool group can use for planning an uncertain future
  • Part 3: Dealing with social distancing rules and wearing masks
  • Part 4: Questions regarding lawsuits, health restrictions, and accommodating new families
  • Part 5: How to communicate the plan to the members
  • Part 6: Using Zoom, offering refunds and other topics.

During the podcast Carol mentioned the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group. Please join us!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

The webinar is available to watch on YouTube or no charge. https://youtu.be/AaQ1c_XuUvY? It runs for one hour and 38 minutes!

Featured Product

Books for Homeschool Leaders

HomeschoolCPA has several books to help leaders start and run a homeschool program

  • Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out
  • Money Management for Homeschool Organizations
  • The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization
  • Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization
  • Homeschool Board Member Manual
  • Taxes for Homeschool Business Owners

All these books can be found at https://homeschoolcpa.com/bookstore/

Communicating COVID Plans and Organizing Classrooms(podcast)

Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA.com hosted a webinar titled Planning an Uncertain Future for homeschool group leaders in June 2020. The purpose of the webinar was to help homeschool groups plan their fall activities given the COVID-19 pandemic was making it uncertain of they could operate.

The webinar is available to watch on YouTube at no charge. https://youtu.be/AaQ1c_XuUvY? It runs for one hour 38 minutes! This podcast will air the highlights in smaller chunks over six episodes.

Join this episode and the other five episodes as Carol and three panelists discuss: 

  • Part 1: Making decisions as a board or team
  • Part 2: Tools a homeschool group can use for planning an uncertain future
  • Part 3: How are the panelists dealing with social distancing rules and wearing masks
  • Part 4: Questions regarding lawsuits, health restrictions, and accommodating new families
  • Part 5: How to communicate the plan to the members and organize a classroom
  • Part 6: Using Zoom, offering refunds and other topics.

During the podcast Carol mentioned:

Featured Product

Mentoring from HomeschoolCPA

Carol Topp, CPA, the homeschool CPA, is offering a mentoring opportunity to train mentees to assist homeschool groups and their leaders.

A potential mentee should have:

  • Love and passion for homeschooling.
  • Education and experience in accounting. A BS or BA in business or accounting. CPA license (even if currently inactive) is strongly preferred.
  • Experience in nonprofit leadership such as being on a board of a church or nonprofit organization

For more information go to https://homeschoolcpa.com/mentoring/

Do you have a concern about lawsuits related to COVID-19? (podcast)

As a homeschool group leader you may have concerns that a lawsuit could be brought against your group is someone contracts COVID-19.

On June 1, 2020, Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA.com hosted a webinar titled Planning an Uncertain Future for homeschool group leaders. The purpose of the webinar was to help homeschool groups plan their fall activities given the COVID-19 pandemic was making it uncertain of they could operate.

The webinar is available to watch on YouTube at no charge. https://youtu.be/AaQ1c_XuUvY? It runs for one hour 38 minutes! This podcast will air the highlights in smaller chunks over five episodes.

Join this episode and the other five episodes as Carol and three panelists discuss: 

  • Part 1: Making decisions as a board or team
  • Part 2: Tools a homeschool group can use for planning an uncertain future
  • Part 3: How are the panelists dealing with social distancing rules and wearing masks
  • Part 4: Questions regarding lawsuits, insurance, health restrictions, and accommodating new families
  • Part 5: How to communicate the plan to the members
  • Part 6: Using Zoom, offering refunds, and other topics.

Insurance providers for homeschool groups https://homeschoolcpa.com/insurance-providers-for-homeschool-groups/

During the podcast Carol mentioned the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group. Please join us!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

Featured Product

Phone Consultation with Carol Topp, CPA

Phone Consultation: A pre-arranged phone call to discuss your questions. My most popular service for homeschool leaders. It’s like having your own homeschool expert CPA on the phone!

Cost: $85/hour to nonprofit organizations. $100/hour to for-profit businesses. $60 minimum.

Contact HomeschoolCPA, Carol Topp, CPA, to arrange a telephone consultation.

Click Here to request more information!

Social Distancing in a Homeschool Group (podcast)

Three homeschool leaders discuss the challenges of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 In June 2020, Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA.com hosted a webinar titled Planning an Uncertain Future for homeschool group leaders. The purpose of the webinar was to help homeschool groups plan their fall activities given the COVID-19 pandemic was making it uncertain of they could operate. This podcast will air the highlights in small chunks over six episodes.

Join this episode and the other episodes as Carol and three panelists discuss: 

  • Part 1: Making decisions as a board or team
  • Part 2: Tools a homeschool group can use for planning an uncertain future
  • Part 3: Dealing with social distancing rules and wearing masks
  • Part 4: Questions regarding lawsuits, health restrictions, and accommodating new families
  • Part 5: How to communicate the plan to the members
  • Part 6: Using Zoom, offering refunds and other topics.

The webinar is available to watch on YouTube at no charge. https://youtu.be/AaQ1c_XuUvY? It runs for one hour 38 minutes! This podcast will air the highlights in smaller chunks over six episodes.

During the podcast Carol mentioned:

Featured Product

Books for Homeschool Leaders

HomeschoolCPA has several books to help leaders start and run a homeschool program

  • Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out
  • Money Management for Homeschool Organizations
  • The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization
  • Paying Workers in a Homeschool Organization
  • Homeschool Board Member Manual
  • Taxes for Homeschool Business Owners

All these books can be found at https://homeschoolcpa.com/bookstore/

Tools for Planning an Uncertain Future for Homeschool Groups (podcast)

Tools for Planning an Uncertain Future

Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA.com hosted a webinar titled Planning an Uncertain Future for homeschool group leaders in June 2020. The purpose of the webinar was to help homeschool groups plan their fall activities given the COVID-19 pandemic was making it uncertain of they could operate.

The webinar is available to watch on YouTube at no charge. https://youtu.be/AaQ1c_XuUvY? It runs for one hour 38 minutes! This podcast will air the highlights in smaller chunks over six episodes.

Join this podcast episode on using a decision matrix and the other five episodes as Carol and three panelists discuss:

  • Part 1: Making decisions as a board or team
  • Part 2: Tools a homeschool group can use for planning an uncertain future
  • Part 3: How are the panelists dealing with social distancing rules and wearing masks
  • Part 4: Questions regarding lawsuits, health restrictions, and accommodating new families
  • Part 5: How to communicate the plan to the members
  • Part 6: Using Zoom, offering refunds and other topics.

Download the Decision Matrix spreadsheet at HomeschoolCPA.com/DecisionMatrix

During the podcast Carol mentioned the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group. Please join us!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

Featured Product

Webinars for Homeschool Leaders

HomeschoolCPA offers several recorded webinars for homeschool leaders. Most are 60-90 minutes and come with handouts and other resources. Prices range from free to $25 each.

Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community The first steps in starting a nonprofit: a board, bylaws and nonprofit incorporation

501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofit How to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status

IRS and State Filings What you need to do after 501c3 status

Tax Preparation for Homeschool Businesses How to prepare your tax return for homeschool business owners

Financial Reports How to present financial reports that are clear and easy to understand to board members  FREE

ABCs of an Academic Homeschool Program How to start an academic, classical homeschool program

Planning an Uncertain Future for Homeschool Groups (podcast)

On June 1, 2020, Carol Topp of HomeschoolCPA.com hosted a webinar titled Planning an Uncertain Future for homeschool group leaders. The purpose of the webinar was to help homeschool groups plan their fall activities given the COVID-19 pandemic was making it uncertain if they could operate.

The webinar is available to watch on YouTube at no charge. https://youtu.be/AaQ1c_XuUvY? It runs for one hour 38 minutes! This podcast will air the highlights in smaller chunks over six episodes.

Join this episode and the next five episodes as Carol and three panelists discuss:

  • Part 1: Making decisions as a board or team
  • Part 2: Tools a homeschool group can use for planning an uncertain future
  • Part 3: How are the panelists dealing with social distancing rules and wearing masks
  • Part 4: Questions regarding lawsuits, health restrictions, and accommodating new families
  • Part 5: How to communicate the plan to the members
  • Part 6: Using Zoom, offering refunds and other topics.

During the podcast Carol mentioned the I am a Homeschool Group Leader Facebook group. Please join us!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

Featured Product

Board Manual

The  Board Manual for homeschool organizations will be very helpful to organize your board and run your homeschool organization successfully!

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

Click Here to request more information!