School PTO Incorporation Guide

Free Guide: How To Incorporate a School PTO

How To Incorporate a School PTO

 

What Is a PTO?

“PTO” stands for “parent-teacher organization,” and it’s a general name for the 75 percent of school parent groups that choose to remain independent of the National PTA. These independent groups go by many acronyms, including PCC, HSA, and PTSO. They write their own bylaws, apply for their own tax-exemption (and nonprofit incorporation) status, and they can choose how much to charge in dues—or not charge dues at all.

What Does It Mean To Be Incorporated (and Why Should You Do It)?

Incorporation involves registering your parent group (for the most part, inexpensively) in your state, including filing “articles of incorporation”—paperwork that establishes the existence of your organization as a nonprofit entity.

While it sounds technical, it’s worth it for a number of reasons. Incorporating your school parent group gives it a more professional status—it legally establishes your group as an independent organization. This helps build your public image and can also make it easier to solicit donations from local businesses to support your group’s activities.

Some groups choose not to incorporate because of the paperwork involved, the cost, or the idea that it’ll make things too formal. But PTO Today believes that incorporation is a wise investment of time and money for the future of any parent group. Eligibility for grants and funding, professionalism, and the corporate shield are all benefits that outweigh the short-term effort and (often minimal) expense of incorporating.

Inside the Guide on How To Incorporate Your School PTO:

Reasons To Incorporate
Did you know incorporating your group helps protect your officers and members from being held personally liable in a lawsuit against the organization? This “corporate shield” is one of several benefits of incorporating.

Before You Start
Key points you need to know about (and do) before you begin the incorporation process, such as why incorporation should be completed before filing for tax-exempt status from the IRS.

Incorporation in Three Key Steps
The main actions you’ll need to take, broken down so the process isn’t overwhelming—from contacting your state for the filing forms (plus the questions you should ask up front) to choosing a business name and filing your articles of incorporation.

What Are Articles of Incorporation?
Background on the meaning and importance of this document, plus a sample set of articles of incorporation for you to use as a reference.

Other Important Information
If you’re planning to apply for 501(c)(3) status either now or later, you’ll make things easier by including this required language from the IRS when you incorporate.



Still have questions? Call us at 800-644-3561; we’re here to help.