Question: 501(c)3 Status

We're trying to get our silent auction items together and find that most of the national companies ask for a 501(c)3 number. Our PTO just evolved in March 2010 after being a PTA for EVER! Our Pres & Treas don't want to pay to obtain the status. Can we just "piggyback" on the SCHOOL's 501(c)3?

Asked by kitcarsoni



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
The only way you can do that is if you run this as a school fundraiser and not a PTO fundraiser. In that case, all of the money raised must go directly into the school's bank account. The school will then have complete control of that money, not the PTO. You should reconsider getting your own 501c3 status, especially if you run an auction. The fee is a one-time cost that will pay off for you in many ways. And if you're willing to spend the time, you can fill out the application, IRS form 1023, yourself. PTO Today's Startup Toolkit walks you through the application question by question. And by the way, 501c3 status is retroactive to your start date, so if you do apply, your auction donors would be able to claim a tax deduction for their donations this year.

Community Advice

traceym writes:
It really is worth getting the 501(c)(3) status if you can. It makes getting donations easier and you don't have to collect taxes with your fundraisers. You may want to call the IRS help line and ask them how much the filing fee would be, it was a lot less than we expected for our PTO last year when we started and we are at a small rural school.

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