Checklist for nonprofit tax exempt status


The process to form a nonprofit homeschool organization and apply for tax exempt status can seem daunting.

This checklist will help you know the steps to take and the correct order.

If you need help at any step or want a personal consultation to discuss your unique situation, please contact Carol Topp, CPA.

Checklist for Homeschool Organizations Applying for 501c3 Tax Exempt Status

Phase I: Setting Up Your Organization

  • Choose a name for your nonprofit. Research the IRS Charities web site, the internet, and your state’s Secretary of State’s Office to be sure it is not already taken.
  • Choose a board of directors (often only three people are needed, a president/chair, a treasurer, and secretary). Board members should be unrelated to each other. More is usually better, including a vice-president/chair.
  • Develop organizational by laws—the rules by which you will operate. Sample bylaws.
  • Create a budget  and list sources of income and expenses.

Phase II: Forming a Nonprofit Organization

  • Hold your first board meeting. Get approval of the by laws and approval to form a nonprofit corporation.
  • Read about Nonprofit Incorporation and it benefits. Have the board vote to form a nonprofit corporation or stay as an unincorporated association.
  • Look up your state’s form for Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation. This is usually on the Secretary of State’s website. The state form may or may not include the IRS-required statements of your purpose and specific language concerning private benefit and inurement, political activities, and distribution of assets upon dissolution. You will need to attach these required paragraph. See the IRS required language here.
    • HomeschoolCPA can review your Articles for compliance with the IRS requirements. Contact us.
  • Submit your state form usually called Articles of Nonprofit Incorporation to the appropriate office in your state government with the required fee. This is usually the Secretary of State’s Office. Make sue you attach ethe IRS required language mentioned above. Cover Money Mgmt HS Org
  • Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) using the name of the corporation by submitting IRS Form SS-4  online. Go to and type EIN in the search box.

Phase I and II are explained in the webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community. Details. 

Phase III: Apply for 501c Tax Exempt Status

  • Read all you can on filing for tax exempt status. Carol Topp’s book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization will be very helpful.
  • Consider a phone consultation with HomeschoolCPA to discuss the details of your particular organization.IRS and Your Homeschool Org cover
  • Have the board vote their approval for filing 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.
  • File IRS Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ to become a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, preferably within 27 months of the date of incorporation. HomeschoolCPA can help with this rather daunting task. Our specialty is homeschool organizations and we have helped over 100 nonprofits receive tax exempt status from the IRS. Contact us.
  • Pay filing fees to the IRS of $600 if you anticipate having revenue of over $50,000 per year, or $275 if you anticipate having revenue of less than $50,000 per year.  HomeschoolCPA’s fees are in addition to the IRS fees.

Phase III is explained in my webinar 501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofits. Details.

Phase IV:  IRS and State Fillings

  • Register as a charity within your state. Research what your state requires from nonprofit organizations. HomeschoolCPA can also help you determine what your state filing requirements will be for your organization. Contact us.
  • Maintain 501c3 tax exempt status with the IRS by filing the annual 990/990-EZ or 990-N Information Returns.

Phase IV is explained in my webinar IRS and State Filings for Homeschool Nonprofits. Details.

Carol Topp 1200x1800Carol Topp, CPA, the owner of HomeschoolCPA, is available to assist your homeschool organization every step of the way. Through her website, books, podcast, and consultations, she makes confusing IRS rules easy to understand. Carol has assisted over 100 organizations receive 501c tax exempt status.