Question: PTO using school's EIN - how does this work?

Our PTO uses the district's EIN for its bank account. Does this make it a committee of the district (we're a small district)? Is the PTO considered a not for profit? Is the PTO tax exempt? Would donations be addressed to the PTO or the district? Since the money is already associated with the district (due to the use of the EIN), how is it then donated from the PTO to one of the two schools or the district in general? No one within the PTO can or is willing to explain this to me and the superintendent doesn't feel the district has control of the PTO. I'd appreciate anyone's knowledge of such matters.

Asked by bythebook



Advice from PTO Today

Craig writes:
If this system is working, I wouldn't necessarily rock the boat. It does mean that in a technical sense your group isn't independent -- you are part of the district you are serving. And the money belongs to the district, not to you. However, the district is giving you control of the money and independence in deciding what you do. It doesn't seem like you need to establish yourself as an independent entity at this point. The reason to do it would be to protect your money, in particular, in the future. If it's in your own bank account and not one with the district EIN, the district can't just take it from you. If you start having issues in the future -- a more contentious superintendent, for example--it would certainly make sense at that point to get your own EIN and apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS. At the moment, you're functioning under the district's tax-exempt status.

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