Why Wednesday? 10/9/2019

It’s Why Wednesday! What are the frequent errors units make on PTA tax forms?

Filing Your Tax Forms

If you are like a lot of people, the thought of dealing with tax forms or the IRS in any capacity makes you shudder. Unfortunately, all nonprofits have tax forms that they have to file every year. Fortunately, PTA has resources to make tax filings easier and for many of you, your tax filings can be done online, with very little angst.

Now, about those forms…Every nonprofit in California, which includes EVERY PTA, is required to submit tax filings to three different government agencies: the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts (AG/RCT). These forms are due 4 ½ months after the end of your fiscal year. It sounds complicated but what it means is that if your fiscal year ends on June 30th, then your tax forms are all due by November 15th. If your fiscal year ends on May 31st, then your forms are due by October 15th.

So now that we know that you have to file and your tax filings are probably due soon, let’s talk about a really important term: gross receipts. In general, your PTA’s gross receipts will be the total of all the income you’ve received during the fiscal year from all sources less the portion of your membership dues which are forwarded to your Council or District. Think of it like this:

(All Income) – (Membership Dues forwarded to Council/District) = Gross Receipts

Now let’s talk about the three forms you need to file…

IRS 990 Series

There are three versions of this form: 990N, 990EZ and 990. If your PTA’s gross receipts were less than $50,000 AND your PTA’s gross receipts are usually less than $50,000 then you can file the 990-N electronic postcard. (“Usually less than $50,000” means that the average gross receipts over the past three years is less than $50,000.)

If you can’t file the 199-N, then your PTA will need to file either the 990 EZ or the 990, depending on your PTA’s gross receipts and total assets. These are longer and more complex forms and California State PTA strongly encourages any PTA required to file the IRS 990EZ or 990 to seek professional assistance from someone who is experienced in filing non-profit tax returns.

CA FTB 199 Series

There are two versions of this form: 199N and 199. If your PTA’s gross receipts were less than $50,000 AND your gross receipts are usually less than $50,000, then you can file the 199N online.

If your PTA is not able to file the 199N then you need to file the longer 199 form. California State PTA strongly encourages any PTA which is required to file the 199 to seek professional assistance from someone who is experienced in filing non-profit tax returns.

AG/RCT Charitable Trust Renewal Form (RRF-1)

This form is required by the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. There is only one version of the form, however you may file it online via the AG/RCT’s Charity Registration Online Renewal System. (Please note that this system requires you to request a user ID before you can use it.) If you prefer to file a paper RRF-1 form, it is recommended that you send it via certified mail. If your PTA’s gross receipts were more than $25,000, you will also need to mail a check with your form or submit an electronic payment via the AG/RCT’s Charity Registration Online Renewal System.

In general, the answers to questions 1 through 9 are usually “NO” unless you used a commercial fundraising company or held a raffle. Please be aware that the semi-annual audits required of every PTA are NOT considered “audited financial statements” within the meaning of question 9. If you answer “YES” to any question, be sure to include an attachment with the required additional information. Incomplete forms will be rejected.

In addition, if your PTA files an IRS 990EZ or 990, you must include a complete copy of your IRS tax filing with your RRF-1 form. The AG/RCT’s Charity Registration Online Renewal System allows for IRS filings to be uploaded as PDF files.

A Couple of Important Notes

If your PTA is going to pay a professional to prepare and file your taxes, please make sure that they are experienced in filing tax returns for non-profits. It’s even better if they’re experienced in filing tax returns for PTAs. Just as you wouldn’t take your car to a bicycle repair shop, you shouldn’t take your taxes to a professional who has never filed for a non-profit before.

Even if your PTA is filing the e-postcard versions of the IRS and California forms, you can seek professional assistance. This is a legitimate expense and you are not “wasting” money by paying a professional when necessary. Remember that it is not the Treasurer’s job to file the PTA tax returns. It is the Treasurer’s job to ensure that the tax returns are filed.

If you have questions or need help, please contact your council or district treasurer or visit the California State PTA’s Tax Filing Support Center https://capta.org/pta-leaders/services/tax-filing-support-center/. All tax forms and links to online filing sites can also be found at the Tax Filing Support Center link above.

Get the Lead Out

“I know many parents who had a new water bottle on their ‘back to school’ shopping list,” said Mariaelena Huizar, California State PTA Vice President of Health and Community Concerns. “We’ve got to make sure what’s going in those bottles is safe. For that reason, I’m recommending this Get the Lead Out toolkit to parents. It’s short and gives you concrete tools to work with your school and ensure safe drinking water for our children.”

Everyone agrees that our kids need and deserve safe drinking water at school. Unfortunately, most schools were built with fountains, faucets and other parts that contain lead. So far, over 2,000 water fountains and sinks in California schools have been found to leach lead into the drinking water. And since only a fraction of water fountains have been tested in the state, we are likely only scratching the surface of the problem.

The good news is that parents and school officials working together can solve this problem. The legislature has demonstrated a commitment to help schools address this, with $150 million allocated to lead remediation as part of a new statewide school bond likely heading to voters in 2020. But today’s students are counting on schools to take initiative now to get out the lead.

The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) has created a free Back to School Toolkit that includes a fact sheet, sample materials for taking action, and links to additional resources. You can download the toolkit here: www.calpirg.org

World Teachers Day

Tomorrow is World Teachers Day– and in the PTA universe, we know how important our teachers are! Having the teachers at your school join your PTA and participate in your programs is a great way to encourage children and families to join in the fun! Students love when their teacher comes to an event and parents like the opportunity to see a teacher outside of parent conference.

Show teachers how much we appreciate all that they do! We know that Teacher Appreciation Week isn’t officially until May, but you can still use some of these ideas to recognize your teachers earlier in the year!

Teachers, did you know that we also have resources you can use with the families in your classroom– many of which are available in different languages? National PTA even has a guide designed especially for teachers on ways to increase parent engagement at your school.

Don’t forget that we are a team– that’s why we are called the Parent Teacher Association! Thank you for all you do on a daily basis to positively impact the lives of children and families at our schools.

Meet the Board of Directors: Tim Davidson

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you! Let’s meet our Parliamentarian Tim Davidson.

Tim Davidson, Parliamentarian, has been involved with PTA for 14 years. His favorite thing about PTA is socializing with parents who have similar interests and concerns for children.

Tim has a 19-year-old son who is a basketball player in Spain. His 15-year-old son is a sophomore and loves art and animals. Tim and his wife love traveling and have hosted nearly twenty foreign exchange students in their home.

Tim is writing a doctoral dissertation on paternal influences on student motivation in high school. He enjoys playing guitar, singing and playing basketball (though he is starting to slow down a bit with the sport).

His advice is to include others in what you do. “Many hands make light work; and doing PTA with friends is more fun.”

Why Wednesday? 10/2/2019

It’s Why Wednesday! Why should you listen to the new National PTA podcast?

As members of the PTA, we naturally want what is best for all children. This 30 minute or less podcast is full of information designed to fit into our busy lives. The first few topics include: The Truth About School Discipline in America, How is Your Kid Really Doing in School, What Every Middle School Parent Should Know, and Recess: Is It Just for Play? They interview experts in the field and give you the most up-to-date research on the topics. The best part is you can listen while you are exercising, sitting in the car, or anyplace when you have a few spare minutes! Enjoy it by clicking here.

It is Reflections season!

It is currently Reflections season in our PTAs. As you encourage your artists to work on their submissions for “Look Within” keep these things in mind:

  1. If you have not already done so, please register your unit with National PTA. It’s a simple form to fill out just click here.
  2. Do some marketing for the program to keep it in the forefront of everyone’s mind. California State PTA has some printable resources for you to use.
  3. Begin to recruit judges to evaluate the student’s work. Local dance studios, community college professors, and high school English teachers are just a few ideas of places to contact for possible judges. In the local leader guide we have instructions for the judges as well as rubrics they can use as they evaluate.
  4. Celebrate every student artist with certificates, plaques, or awards. We have a celebration guide, certificate template, and volunteer thank you cards all ready for you to use!
  5. Pat yourself on the back for helping to keep the arts alive at your unit!

Meet the Board of Directors: Jeff Price

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you! Let’s meet our Secretary Jeff Price.

Jeff Price, Secretary, has been involved in PTA for 10 years. His favorite thing about PTA is knowing that he is making a difference.

Jeff is married to his husband, Ed and they have a 15-year-old son, Parker. He is an attorney and greatly enjoys reading, traveling, and watching his son play soccer.

The advice Jeff would give to leaders is to enjoy what you are doing, or don’t do it. His favorite quote is, “Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied to a meaningful effort.” – Dr. Thomas Dooley

Meet the Board of Directors: Melinda Kirkland

We want you to get to know our Board of Directors better, since they are all here to serve you! Let’s meet our Treasurer Melinda Kirkland.

Melinda Kirkland, Treasurer, has been involved in PTA for 10 years. Her favorite thing about PTA is helping other adults be better advocates for kids.

Melinda is married and has two children. Her daughter is 18 and starting her second year of college. Her son is 16 and entering his senior year of high school. She also has 3 cats and a service dog. She works part time as a consultant. She loves reading, playing board and card games, viewing waterfalls and wildflowers, and watching football (go Chargers)!

Her advice to others is, “you don’t know what you can do until you try, so don’t give up before you’ve even started.” Her favorite quote is, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” C.S. Lewis

When Melinda started in PTA, she knew nothing and was handed a box of unsorted papers. There were district and state officers who helped and taught her every step of the way. “Whatever your situation, someone’s been there before and we are here to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out! “

Why Wednesday? 9/25/2019

It’s Why Wednesday! What are resolutions?

Q: Our PTA unit/council/district wants to change ….
Q: How can our PTA address the issue of …..
Q: Our PTSA is concerned about …..

A: Write a PTA Resolution – it’s our way of calling attention to a problem and/or a need for action on an issue impacting children and families

We’ve all been there – there’s a local issue or concern and we know it’s something that happens throughout the state. As the nation’s largest volunteer-led child-advocacy association working to drive improvements in the education, health, and well-being of all children and families, our members are quick to identify problems or situations with state (or nationwide) implications.

But we don’t know how to bring the PTA’s attention to the issue or make a statewide change.

Good news, local issues can become California State PTA resolutions. A resolution is one way to bring attention to the issue and authorize PTA action. These resolutions offer official guidance on wide-ranging issues, including in just the past few years, dyslexia, school-finance, health & safety, and early care & education, (see the full list of existing CAPTA Resolutions https://capta.org/focus-areas/advocacy/resolutions/)

Every year resolutions are presented for consideration and adoption by our membership at our annual California State PTA convention. The deadline to submit the first draft of a resolution for the 2020 CAPTA Convention is November 1, 2019. The State’s Resolution Committee is available to answer questions and provide mentoring support in advance of the draft deadline.

So tell us, what issue or question concerns you now?

Looking for more information? Read our Digital publication: “Procedure for Preparing for a PTA Resolution” http://downloads.capta.org/res/ResolutionProcedures.pdf. Or reach out to our Resolution Committee Chair Robin Klau with questions or assistance: rklau@capta.org 916-440-1985 ext 324

Voter Registration

Are YOU registered to vote? Do you need to update your registration or not sure how to register for the November 3, 2020 election?

The deadline to register online is Monday, October 19, 2020.

The deadline to register by mail is (postmarked by) Monday, October 19.

You can also register and vote in person on Election Day.

Visit https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voter-registration/ to register. Voting is a privilege and it is our duty and responsibility as citizens to take the opportunity to have our voices heard. By registering to vote, and then going to vote at the polls, you are engaging in our country’s political process while standing up for what matters most to you, your family, and your community. Each of us deserves the chance to stand up for what matters most to us, and to have our voices heard. The best way to do that? Register to vote and then..go vote.

Did you know that 16- and 17-year-olds can pre-register to vote now for the first election after they reach 18? Did you know that in the 1970’s students worked to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 so that they could have a voice in matters affecting them directly?

National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) is a national holiday celebrating our democracy, and was first observed in 2012 on the fourth Tuesday of September. In 2020 NVRD falls on Tuesday, September 22nd. Volunteers and organizations from all over the country will coordinate efforts to create awareness of the many voter registration opportunities.