I am part of a homeschool group in Colorado. We do not have a non-profit status and most people in our group do not want to organize that much. Some of the people in our group have had some experiences with 501c3 status that the government has made them open their group up to individuals that they would not normally allow in their group because they are a government entity (like permitting someone not in our faith to teach a class).
Thank you so much for your help to the homeschool community and for whatever answers you can give us.
Good for you in wanting to make sure that you are doing things properly in your homeschool group.
Your people are mistaken. Receiving 501(c)(3) tax exempt status does not make your organization a government entity; it simply means that you are exempt from paying income tax on your profit and donors can make tax-deductible contributions. It’s a tax status.
501(c)(3) status does not mean you must open up your group to everyone. You are free to set membership requirements and choose who teaches a class. Does a Catholic school have to allow non-Catholics teach in their school? No. Sometimes a Catholic school may hire non-Catholic teachers, but the teacher usually must agree to uphold Catholic principles.
My book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization explains the pros and cons of applying for tax exempt status and the process and tips for getting approved.
The process to become tax exempt is not as scary or as difficult as it used to be. In 2014 the IRS introduced an easier, online application for small nonprofit organizations, the Form 1023-EZ.
Carol Topp, CPA