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registering my home school as a business

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I can't believe this wasn't already asked, but I searched and searched...we are homeschooling. Supplies are going to add up--we're a very crafty, unschooling family. Can I register us as a business, even though we don't have students who are not in our family? I don't even know what kind of business I'd be--sole proprietor? I tried looking at websites of the IRS, my state, etc. and can't find a thing.

post #2 of 14
I'm in Canada but I'm still going to guess no. I've run a couple of businesses and you have to show a real attempt to make a profit and grow the business. You'd also have to classify it for tax purposes and I'm pretty sure there is no designation for "homeschool". You aren't selling a product or service so you aren't a business.
post #3 of 14

Agree with limette. It's no more a business than parenting your own children is "running a home daycare." 

 

Miranda

post #4 of 14

I agree, and it would be darn hard to show a monetary profit!

post #5 of 14

Honestly I think the IRS would view that as tax fraud. I agree it's no different than claiming parenting your children as a daycare. A business has to be bringing in money to be legitimate (or have the reasonable hope of bringing in money). Sure many businesses post a loss at the end of the year but there has to be revenue of some sort. Otherwise you're just writing off your living expenses with no actual business activity which is fraud. If you get audited, you'd have to show that the expenses you're writing off are in pursuit of bringing in revenue and directly tied to that activity.

post #6 of 14

No, you can't register it as a business because it is not. You also cannot claim you are running a daycare caring for your own kids. Tax fraud pure and simple.

post #7 of 14

I don't think this would actually work, but could you register it as a charity, for tax breaks?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

I don't think this would actually work, but could you register it as a charity, for tax breaks?


I would not do anything like this without checking it out very carefully.  My gut feeling is that to do this would be tax fraud.

 

post #9 of 14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fillyjonk View Post

I don't think this would actually work, but could you register it as a charity, for tax breaks?



Where I live there are very very strict rules about what it takes to become a charity. You have to have an elected board of directors, be incorporated as a society, board members cannot benefit directly from the activities of the charity, bylaws must be approved by the government, you must pay for and submit audited financial statements each year, etc. etc.. Becoming a registered charity is a costly and time-consuming process. My experience with charitable organizations is in Canada but I can't imagine it would be any more lax in the US.

 

miranda

post #10 of 14

While you can't call yourself a business, you are eligible for educator discounts at some stores. I know most office supply/craft stores around me offer this discount and I have been offered it without having to show any documentation that I am truly a homeschooler. I know you can also create a certificate or business card with your "school" name, etc. to show to get the educator discount. It is certainly worth asking about, I know every little bit helps financially!

post #11 of 14

I'm not qualified to offer you official advice, but I would think if this is something you want to pursue, why not start a legitimate family business with your kids?  Offer arts and crafts classes and/or a web site about being crafty that would get income from advertising, that kind of thing.  Then you can deduct your research.  And I would think any loss, since it is your business, would go against your joint return. 

 

My kids get income from acting / modeling / performing so they personally get deductions like choir, acting lessons, dance lessons, and related expenses, and this offsets income and allows a carried forward loss.  Also wouldn't you know, my son's hair usually needs to be cut the day of an audition so it can be styled to suggest the role.  But this all goes against their incomes and not the parents' income.  I don't take any kind of management cut and it's not a family business the way other things kids can legally participate in would be.

 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post



Where I live there are very very strict rules about what it takes to become a charity. You have to have an elected board of directors, be incorporated as a society, board members cannot benefit directly from the activities of the charity, bylaws must be approved by the government, you must pay for and submit audited financial statements each year, etc. etc.. Becoming a registered charity is a costly and time-consuming process. My experience with charitable organizations is in Canada but I can't imagine it would be any more lax in the US.

 

miranda


I'm in two minds as to whether it might work here (UK). I think, on balance, you MIGHT be able to set up a charity for your children's education-BUT you'd have to have other people, who didn't benefit financially, as trustees. Here I think you don't have to have books audited or register or anything til you hit around $8000, you just have to self declare, however you'd presumably have to have books audited etc for the purpose of avoiding tax etc? My experience is with things that are indisputably charitable, such as children's music stuff, or homelessness, but I have to say that in the UK, very expensive, elistist fee paying private schools are charities and benefit from tax breaks (I personally find this appalling).

 

(sorry that was totally OT. I have no idea what the situation would be in the US. I suspect your charity laws re education are stricter. We basically have these very lax laws to make sure that the sons of the Empire could continue to recieve subsidised education for their children. What I do think though is that, here, registering a homeschool as a charity might be possible, because all schools including fee paying ones tend to be charities. Would this be something that would work at state or federal level?)

 

 

 

 

 

post #13 of 14

In the US no, most states wouldn't allow you to do so.  I looked into tax exemption once too and it's a Hell to the NO!  However I'm sure you can find something you can do as a family that could bring in some money.

post #14 of 14

You can have a family hobby, and deduct a certain $ amt.  I'm not sure of the amt, but I'm thinking it's around $500.  Ours is beekeeping.  We've decided to add that in as a hobby instead of adding it to the agricultural stuff we do.

 

I figure that homeschooling allows enough other perks that paying for everything is worth it.

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