Homeschool group not open to the public. Is that allowed?

501c3 groups serve a public good but can they limit membership to their group?


On your chart comparing the two types of tax-exempt status for homeschool organizations, under 501(c)(3),  it says membership is open to the public. However, many homeschool groups have membership qualifications. Some require members agree with a Statement of Faith or or not participate in a public-school-at-home program.
Thanks for your insights.


You asked about membership in your homeschool group being open to the public. You do not have to throw open the doors to your homeschool programs and let everyone in. That could be logistically difficult and it could threaten the safety of the children participating in your programs.

I should clarify that 501c3 groups serve a public good-the education of children- but they may limit membership to their group.

Also, when the IRS determines a group is a public charity (and educational organizations are considered public charities), they mean the organization is funded by the public, unlike a private foundation which is funded by an individual or a family.

Remember, we, as Americans, have the freedom to assemble and that means we can determine who can join our groups and who cannot join. So membership requirements are allowed.

Sorry if that was not more clear.

Carol Topp, CPA


  1. Is that true when it comes to students with special needs? I was recently told by the administration of our group that a licensed non-profit educational group does not have the option to review an IEP and cannot ask a student with behavioral problems to leave for safety reasons, because the student is protected by their IEP. I don’t understand why this is, as the group does not receive any federal money and should not be bound by IDEA. Do you have any input on this, as it was one of the reasons the administration did not pursue non-profit status.

  2. Amy,
    Your question is outside of my experience and knowledge. It’s really a question for an attorney, especially one that understands licensing in your state (which you never named), IDEA (I have no idea what that stands for), and the American s with Disability Act. I emailed you some possible leads to get answers to your questions.

    Carol Topp, CPA

Leave a Reply