Question: New PTO - do we need 501c3?

I was elected as the New PTO president, this school has been around for years and has had a PTO in the past but they got worn out years ago and left behind nothing, no fund, no documentation.. absolutely nothing, the school principal put together a meeting asking for volunteers he asked that people step up. I stood up and said I would be president, well so far i created the by laws and read practically everything I could, Our group has NO money and there are no events planned so far, My question is do i need to file for 501 c 3? We do not plan on holding many fundraisers this year, this year we will be more focused on getting the PTO back into the school and more free community events. None of the board really knows what they are doing we are just learning as we go along. We do plan on asking for donations on our community events such as movie night and reading night

Asked by crystalvaldez01



Community Advice

bethanysmom writes:
My first question would be, how do you plan to pay for filing the 501c3? When I did it for our newly-formed PTO in January, the fee was either 450 or 850, if memory serves me correctly - it depends on your anticipated revenue for the first 4 years. The IRS has had an online filing system in the works for a few years. If they ever complete it, my understanding is that the fee would be reduced to about 250; however, when I asked an IRS representative about how soon that would happen, I was pretty much told not to hold my breath.
We were fortunate that there were some funds left in the old parent group funds, and the superintendent passed those on to us to help us get started - mainly to pay the filing fee.
If you plan to seek large donations, having 501c3 status is helpful in that donations can then be tax-deductible for the donors. This has helped us secure donations and get a grant. It took about 3 months for us to get approved. But, there are a lot of responsibilities that go along with it. One must keep good records (which I'm sure you're doing already) and must submit a 990 on 990-N each year.
Do you have someone who has some nonprofit experience that can help with filing the Form 1023 (application for tax exempt/501c3 status) and with running the nonprofit, if you choose to apply?
I had previously led a nonprofit, so I've had experience in running one; however, none of our other board members have, but they are real go-getters and passionate about making a difference in our school.
My opinion is that passion cannot be learned, but everything else can.

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