Tiny Homeschool Groups: Do We Need to File Anything?

Tiny Homeschool Groups: Do We Need to File Anything?

Tiny homeschool groups have different challenges than large programs. They are limited on resources, volunteers, and activities. But they still have questions about legal status, money and taxes that the large homeschool organizations have.

In this 4-part podcast series, Carol Topp, CPA answers the common questions that tiny homeschool groups face. All podcasts are available at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast

  • Episode #175 Are We a Nonprofit?
  • Episode #176 Do We Need to File Anything?
  • Episode #177 Do We Need to Pay Taxes?
  • Episode #178 Do We Need a Bank Account?

In this episode of the HomeschoolCPA podcast, Carol Topp discusses:

  • Bylaws do not typically need to be filed anywhere. They are an internal document. Sample bylaws for a homeschool group
  • Articles of Association (if you remain an unincorporated association) or Articles of Incorporation (if you formed a nonprofit corporation in your state). Samples available here
  • Charitable solicitation registration if you solicit donations or hold fund raisers in your state. Get information on your state’s filing requirements from https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/nonprofit-compliance-guide
  • Business licenses for nonprofits (only 6 states require a business license)
  • Employer Identification Number. Helpful tips.

 

Join the Facebook group for homeschool leaders: I am a Homeschool Group Leader. 600+ homeschool leaders offer ideas, encouragement and respectful exchange of ideas. https://www.facebook.com/groups/72534255742/

 

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Is your homeschool group “just a bunch of moms”?

I’ve heard this too many times from homeschool group leaders to ignore it any longer.

“We’re just a bunch of homeschool moms”

It’s usually used along with one of these sentences,

…therefore we don’t want to (or need to) ...

  • be formally structured
  • follow the law
  • pay taxes
  • apply for tax exempt status
  • pay our workers as employees (according to the law)
  • record our income or expenses
  • notify our church host of the for-profit nature of our group, etc…

I’ve heard or read just about every one of these excuses!

Does saying “we’re just a bunch of homeschool moms” imply that:

  • homeschool moms are incapable of running legitimate businesses or nonprofit organizations?
  • homeschool moms can’t understand legal and tax issues?
  • homeschool moms are claiming ignorance as a defense against obeying the law?

Homeschool moms are intelligent, capable women. I know of hundreds of homeschool moms running businesses and nonprofit organizations very successfully and legally. I know some that are accountants and lawyers or, in the true spirit of homeschooling, are self-educated to understand complex tax and legal situations.

So let’s not imply that homeschool moms are not capable or not intelligent by saying “we’re just a bunch of homeschool moms”!

Instead, we should do what we do at home with our children:

Get educated about the legal and financial aspects of running a homeschool organization.

I have resources to help:

 

Carol Topp, CPA

Helping Homeschool Leaders who are smart and capable!

 

Homeschool leader stepping down: Who to notify?

Hi Carol,

I am stepping down from the leadership of my homeschool group and wonder what I need to do. What forms to file, contacts to make, etc. Can you direct me, please? We are a 501c3 in Pennsylvania.

Thanks in advance!

Jill

 

Jill,

Congratulations on your “retirement”! Well done, good and faithful servant. 🙂

There might be quite a few things to do to remove your name from state and IRS documents.

In my ebook Homeschool Organization Board Manual I explain what to do when a board members leaves or the board changes.

This Board Manual might be helpful to your remaining board members since it is a combination of a template for your board to create binders to keep important documents and a board training manual to explain the board’s duties and responsibilities.

 

 

 

It is common for nonprofits to change leaders and signers on the checking account quite frequently, maybe annually! Here’s what you need to do if your board members change.

Notify the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when you file your annual information return, Form 990-N, 990-EZ or 990 that the board members have changed. You do not have to notify the IRS mid-year; only notify them when you file the 990.  The 990-N electronic postcard only asks for one officer’s name. The Forms 990-EZ and 990 have you list all board members.

Notify your State: Your state may require an annual report to the Secretary of State Office and/or the Attorney General. Often the states require an annual update and on that report you list the current board members. Each state is different, so you’ll have to research the details for your state. Research using this helpful website: https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/nonprofit-compliance-guide

Change Your Mailing Address: You can change your address with the IRS by simply providing the new address on your annual information return, Form 990-N, 990-EZ or 990.

Changing your address with your state may involve several agencies including the Secretary of State and Attorney General. Each state is different, so you’ll have to research the details for your state. You can research using this website: https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/nonprofit-compliance-guide

Change the Responsible Party on your EIN: You can change the responsible person on your organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN) by filing an IRS Form 8822-B https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8822b.pdf.

Change your Registered Agent: If you are a nonprofit corporation in your state (meaning you filed official Articles of Incorporation with your state), you assigned a Registered Agent. This is a personal who is a resident of your state and should always know how to reach your organization. Many states list the current Registered Agent on their websites. Do a search on “YOUR STATE Corporate search” then follow links to your state governments’ list of corporations (both for-profit and nonprofit). The list of corporations is usually maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office.

To change the registered agent for your organization, go to your Secretary of State’s website and look for a document called Change of Registered Agent.

Notify the bank: You will probably have to visit your bank in person with the new checkbook signers. They will need identification (like a Drivers License). At that time they can change the mailing address on file.

Make sure you remind the new treasurer to change the password for online access to the checking account as well.

 

I hope that helps!

Carol Topp, CPA
HomeschoolCPA.com
Helping homeschool leaders

12 moms want to start a homeschool co-op. How to get started

Carol,

12 mommies started a homeschool co-op. We offer an educational learning class three times a month and social events (field trips). We are wanting to do things right. We are thinking of collecting dues and selling goods to have money for trips. How do we get started with registering as nonprofit, filing a 501c3, doing everything legal in my state?
Courtney

 

Courtney,

Good for you and the 12 families to help each other homeschool by forming a co-op!

Start by reading through my checklist of steps to form a nonprofit and apply for tax exempt status.

One of your first tasks will be to form a board, the 3-5 people who will lead the group and make major decisions.

My webinar Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community will offer you some great tips to form a board.

 

Then my book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out should be a big help.

Finally one of your officers (usually the Treasurer) should read my book The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization. It explains the process to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status.

 

 

When you’re ready contact me and we can set up a phone call to see if you’re set up enough to apply for 501c3 tax exempt status!

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Helping Homeschool Leaders

Inurement: a funny word the IRS doesn’t like!

The IRS uses an unusual word that most of us don’t know the meaning of: inure or inurement. Here’s how the IRS uses it in their definition of a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization:

A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization. (emphasis added)

Source: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/inurement-private-benefit-charitable-organizations

What does inurement mean?

“Inurement” means “benefit.”  The IRS forbids a tax exempt organization to use its income or assets to directly or indirectly benefit an individual, a person with a close relationship with the organization or a person who is able to exercise significant control over the organization. These can be board members or donors.

Jeramie Fortenberry an attorney, gives an excellent explanation of inurement in his website article “The Inurement Prohibition & Non-Profit Organizations.”

Non-profit organizations are subject to what is known as the nondistribution constraint.  Simply stated, this means that non-profit organizations cannot distribute profits to those who control it.  The nondistribution constraint is the fundamental distinction between non-profit organizations from for-profit organizations.  (emphasis added)

Any time assets of the organization flow through to benefit the organization’s insiders, whether directly or directly, inurement is an issue.

What are some examples of inurement?

  • A nonprofit executive used the organization’s money to pay his child’s college tuition, lease a luxury car for his wife, have his kitchen remodeled, and rent a vacation house at the beach.
  • The CEO at a tax-exempt hospital used charitable assets to pay for personal items such as liquor, china, crystal, perfume, an airplane, and theater tickets.
  • A nonprofit art gallery exhibits artwork created by its members for a fee but grants board members the same service without cost.
  • The nonprofit organization’s sole activity is conducting seminars and lectures based on the program owned by its president and his for-profit company.
  • An educational organization had four board members who voted themselves free tuition to the program for their children. This benefit ranged from $2,000-$4,000 per board member per academic year.

Sources: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-is-private-inurement.html and https://boardsource.org/resources/private-benefit-private-inurement-self-dealing/ and https://www.forpurposelaw.com/the-private-benefit-rule-three-more-examples/

What happens if a nonprofit practices inurement?

I would hope inurement would never happen in a homeschool group, by Mr. Fortenbury discusses the IRS’s options against a nonprofit organization.

The inurement restriction is absolute: An organization that violates this prohibition will not qualify (or will cease to qualify) for tax exemption.

In cases involving inurement, the IRS may impose the penalties in lieu of or in addition to the revocation of tax exempt status. 

This system effectively gives the IRS two options to enforce the nondistribution constraint.  In blatant violations of the inurement prohibition, the IRS can both revoke tax exemption and impose monetary penalties under the intermediate sanction regimes. In less severe cases, the IRS may seek to correct the situation through intermediate sanctions alone.

For the full article visit: https://www.fortenberrylaw.com/inurement-prohibition-nonprofit-organizations,

 

So, please homeschool leaders, stay away from inurement (giving benefits or the assets that belongs to the nonprofit) to any insiders (those who exercise control over the organization).

We’re homeschoolers and we’re better than that.

Carol Topp, CPA

Converting a Business to a Nonprofit: Tax Exempt Status

 

Some homeschool groups that started as a for-profit business want to convert to a nonprofit organization. Most of these nonprofit organization also want 501c3 tax exempt status from the IRS as well.

In this 3-part podcast series Carol Topp, CPA has explained the basics of a nonprofit organization and how to form a nonprofit corporation. In this third episode Carol discusses 501c3 tax exempt status.

The first two episodes (#168 and 169) can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Podcast

Show Notes

In this episode, Carol will discuss:

  • The benefits of tax exempt status
  • The application process and Forms 1023-EZ and 1023.
  • Time and cost to apply for 501c3 status
  • A successor to a for-profit entity must use IRS Form 1023 (not the shorter 1023-EZ) to apply for 501c3 status.

 

Featured Product

This webinar recording on Creating a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community will be very helpful as you launch a homeschool group

This webinar recording is helpful for new nonprofits, existing homeschool groups especially if you’re unsure if your group is a nonprofit, or for a business wanting to convert to a nonprofit organization.

The webinar runs about 90 minutes and covers:

  • The difference between a business and a nonprofit
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit
  • Forming a board: who can be one it, what do they do, etc.
  • Creating bylaws
  • Drafting a budget
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Forming a nonprofit corporation in your state
  • The timeline to get this all done
  • The expense to accomplish this

The cost is only $10!

For more information visit HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

 

In the podcast I mentioned my book, The IRS and Your Homeschool Organization.

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

 

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Starting a Nonprofit: Nonprofit Incorporation

 

Sometimes a homeschool group started as a for-profit business desires to convert to a nonprofit organization for its many benefits. Can that be done? How hard is it? How costly is it?

In Episode 168 Carol Topp, CPA explained the basics of forming a nonprofit board. In this second episode Carol discusses bylaws and nonprofit incorporation.

Show Notes

Your organization’s purpose will not be making a profit, but now will be educational and maybe religious.

The control shifts from the owner to a board. At least 3 members need to be on the organization’s board.

  • Officers are Chair, Vice, Secretary and Treasurer. Add more board members if needed.
  • Board members should be unrelated to each other (by family and by business relationships) and unrelated to any paid employees. So a board cannot be all the paid staff/teachers/tutors, but could be parents, community members, etc.

The Board has duties of care, loyalty, management (or obedience to law)

  • The board has authority and responsibility. No “rubber stamp” boards!
  • An officer of the Board signs all contracts, agreements, licenses, etc. not the Executive Director
  • The board has control, not the Exec Director. The board decides who to hire and fire, what purpose and activities are,

Conflict of Interest Policy. A paid staff member (Executive Director) can attend board meeting, but no vote because she has a conflict of interest. Sample Conflict of Interest Policy can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Samples.

Webinar

In the podcast I mentioned that I created a webinar on Create a Nonprofit for Your Homeschool Community

This is good for both new nonprofits, or if you’re unsure if your group is a nonprofit (!) or for a business wanting to convert to a nonprofit.

The cost is only $10!

For more information visit HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

 

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Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community


Can a homeschool community of families become a nonprofit? What if it is currently a business?
How hard is it?
What are the steps to take?
How fast can it get it done?
How much will it cost?

 

I have recorded a webinar to answer all these questions and more!

Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

The webinar is 90 minutes and covers:

  • The difference between a business and a nonprofit
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a nonprofit
  • Forming a board: who can be one it, what do they do, etc.
  • Creating bylaws
  • Drafting a budget
  • Setting up a bank account
  • Forming a nonprofit corporation in your state
  • The timeline to get this all done
  • The expense to accomplish this

Who should watch the webinar?

  • Brand new start up homeschool groups
  • Existing groups that never formed as a nonprofit
  • Homeschool communities run as a business that want to convert to be a nonprofit
  • Leaders that are unsure if their homeschool group is a business or a nonprofit. It can be confusing!

 

Watch a preview:

 

The webinar fee is $10. Yes only $10.

You will receive:

  • A link to the recording of the video (90 minutes). Watch anytime (just bookmark the link)
  • A copy of the slides from the webinar


Thank you for this webinar! It was great!-Alicia, homeschool leader
Thank you! It was very informative!-Rhonda, live attendee


UPDATE: The follow-on to this webinar is 501c3 Application for Homeschool Nonprofits. It walks you though the IRS Form 1023-EZ application line-by-line. You will be ready to apply on your own after watching this webinar.

 

Your host:

Carol Topp, CPA is the owner of HomeschoolCPA.com and has assisted more than 150 homeschool organizations apply for 501c3 tax exempt status. She is the author of 15 books.

 

 

 

Making Sure Your Nonprofit Organization is Compliant

 

A lot of homeschool leaders ask me,

“What do I need to do after my homeschool gets nonprofit or tax exempt status?”

They are asking about being compliant with the laws of our land, both federal and sate.

This article Making Sure your Nonprofit Organization is Compliant from MoneyMinder.com has a great article that explains compliance in these areas:

Tax Exempt Status which includes federal income tax exempt granted by the IRS, and sales tax exemption from your state. Your nonprofit may even be eligible for property tax exemption if your own a building. The laws on sales tax and property tax exemption vary by state.

My article explains the IRS filing requirements Do You Know About Required IRS Filings? for tax exempt organizations.

Register with the State Registration laws vary from state to state but most require you to confirm your active status (especially if you are formed as a nonprofit corporation), contact information, mailing address, and name of board members. This reporting is usually to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Charitable Solicitations
Many states ask that you register before actually asking for donations or fundraising. This registration is usually to the Attorney General’s office in your state.

Donation Receipt Requirements
A donor should be given a receipt for any single contribution of $250 or more. The article gives more details on what your donation receipt should say.

 

To research what your state compliance requirements are visit this helpful website

https://www.harborcompliance.com/information/nonprofit-startup-guide.php

If you wish, I can research your state’s requirements and compose a letter explaining what you should do next for filing in your state. I will charge $50 for the research and letter. Just let me know if I can help you in this way.

 

I hope that helps you know what it takes for your homeschool nonprofit to be compliant in your state and with the IRS.

 

Carol Topp, CPA

HomeschoolCPA.com

Converting a Homeschool Business to a Nonprofit: The Basics

 

Sometimes a homeschool group that started as a for-profit business now desires to convert to a nonprofit organization for its many benefits. Can that be done? How hard is it? How costly is it?

In the next 3 podcast episodes Carol Topp, CPA will explain how to convert a for-profit business into a nonprofit organization.

Show Notes

In this first episode covering the basics Carol discusses:

Your organization’s purpose will not be making a profit but now will be educational and maybe religious.

The control of the group’s mission and activities shifts from the owner to a board. A nonprofit is not owned by anyone. At least 3 members need to be on the organization’s board.

  • Officers are Chair, Vice, Secretary and Treasurer. Add more board members if needed.
  • Board members should be unrelated to each other (by family and by business relationships) and unrelated to any paid employees. So a board cannot be all the paid staff/teachers/tutors, but could be parents, community members, etc.

The Board has duties of care, loyalty, management (or obedience to law)

  • The board has authority and responsibility. No “rubber stamp” boards!
  • An officer of the Board signs all contracts, agreements, licenses, etc. not the Executive Director
  • The board has control, not the Exec Director. The board decides who to hire and fire, what purpose and activities are,

Conflict of Interest Policy. A paid staff member (Executive Director) can attend board meeting, but no vote because she has a conflict of interest. Sample Conflict of Interest Policy can be found at HomeschoolCPA.com/Samples.

Webinar

In the podcast I mentioned that I’m offering a webinar on Create a Nonprofit Organization for Your Homeschool Community

This is good for both new nonprofits, or if you’re unsure if your group is a nonprofit (!), or for a business wanting to convert to a nonprofit.

The cost is only $10!

For more information visit HomeschoolCPA.com/CreateNP

 

 

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