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Vol. XXVI
No. 4
Cover
July/August
2010

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CALIFORNIA

CDE Letter Causes Concern

In March 2010, Home School Legal Defense Association was contacted by a number of private school programs that had received a letter from the California Department of Education (CDE). The letter caused concern because it seemed to be questioning each private school’s “tax status,” and requested that the private school complete a form to amend its previously filed affidavit.

The CDE had noted that many of the religious private schools in its private school directory were not tax-exempt. Surmising that because the schools were religious in nature, they must be 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, the CDE simply assumed that the schools’ affidavits had not been correctly filled out. This is why the CDE’s letter asked the schools to amend their private school affidavits.

Non-profit status must be applied for from the United States Internal Revenue Service. In the course of that application process, the organization must demonstrate that it is a charity or that it is for public benefit. Therefore, the average parent who is homeschooling only his or her own children would not qualify for non-profit tax status with the IRS.

Because homeschools operate as private schools in California, it makes sense that the number of religious private schools not having non-profit tax status would be higher in California than in other states.

It appears that the CDE’s letter was prompted by staff not making the connection between the non-tax-exempt religious private schools and the private schools being operated in homes.

HSLDA advised our member families to simply ignore the letter.

Anytime an HSLDA member receives a request for information from the CDE or the local school district, we recommend contacting our legal department for advice before responding.

— by J. Michael Smith