Friday, January 27, 2012

Why a PTA Cannot Contribute to "Transportation" Costs

When I attended PTA & the Law, I understood that PTAs should not pay for transportation for school field trips or other events because the AIM insurance doesn’t cover injuries incurred arising from transportation. Please explain why a PTA cannot contribute to transportation costs for a school event.

The advice provided during the PTA & the Law about paying for transportation via school bus is based on the fact that typically such events use school district buses, and that school districts do not have the legal authority to protect PTAs (or any other private group) from liability.  As a result, the PTA could not be added to the school district’s insurance as an additional insured, and if injuries (or worse) occurred on a field trip involving the school bus and the PTA was sued the PTA would have to hire an attorney (or find one willing to volunteer) to have the PTA dismissed  from the lawsuit.  This could result in a potential cost of several thousands of dollars even if the PTA was in no way at fault in causing the injury. While the risk of injuries and lawsuits may be small, it is real, and is one of many factors that a PTA’s board of directors has to consider. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Threshholds and Deadlines for State Charities Program


In the past our PTA filed the IRS 990EZ and we were also registered with the Charities Program because our revenue exceeded $25,000.  However the filing requirements for both have changed and our revenues average less than the new threshold of $50,000.   We filed the IRS 990-N (e-Postcard) for the 2010-2011 year.  Do we have to continue filing the annual update of our registration with the Charities Program, and if  so what is the deadline for filing?

You are correct that the filing requirements for both the federal Internal Revenue Service and the Washington State Charities Program have changed.  Because your PTA’s revenue was less than $50,000 you correctly filed the IRS 990-N.  While technically you are no longer required to be registered with the State Charities Program, you can file the optional registration that is free and can be filed online.  Filing this information will keep you current in the Charities Program’s system, and avoid the potential of having to respond to inquiries later from the program if you don’t file.  While the deadline for filing for the 2010-11 fiscal year is May 31st we encourage you to file now so it doesn’t get overlooked, and just think how good it will feel to check that off your “to-do” list. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

PTA School Store Sales Tax?

Our local unit has a student store and in the past had not collected sales tax on the items we sold, but we have started doing so since we learned at PTA & the Law that it was required.  What do we need to do to come into compliance with the sales tax rules, and Is there a deadline for doing so?

If your PTA made taxable sales during calendar year 2011, you must file a return called the “Retailing and Other Activities Return” with the Washington State Department of Revenue by January 31, 2012.  Unless the  amount of sales tax you owe is more than $1050 (representing sales of between  $10,600 and $15,000, depending on the applicable rate where the sales took  place) you should not owe any penalty or interest for the 2011 tax  year.   You can find information about how to deal with prior years on the recently updated here.
Fundraising & Sales Tax FAQ now available on the WSPTA  website.  The website also includes instructions for completing the 2011  return,

Friday, January 6, 2012

$600+ to a vendor? You need 1099mis!

I’m the Treasurer of my local unit, and I recall hearing something about there being a requirement to provide information to the Internal  Revenue Service about vendors we have paid during the past calendar year.   Can you help me figure out what to do? 

Yes.  If you paid more than $600 during calendar year 2011 to an individual or an unincorporated business, you must file an IRS Form 1099-MISC.  Instructions about how to complete the form are available on the IRS website; but unfortunately the forms are not available for download.  You can pick them up at a local IRS office, or order the form from the IRS by mail. Hopefully you obtained the necessary information at the time of contracting with the vendor by having  them fill out an IRS Form W-9, but if not you should follow up with the vendor  to obtain the necessary information.