Finance Basics

PTA FINANCE BASICS

The PTA Treasurer serves a crucial role in your association. As you get started in your position you should first familiarize yourself with the organizational documents that govern your PTA, including your Bylaws and the annual filings needed to maintain the financial health of your PTA. At the start of your term you should also take time to set-up your recordkeeping system and review the Annual Financial Review document. Putting proper financial procedures in place at the start of the school year provides transparency for your members, helps protect your PTA from theft and fraud, and prepares you for a quick end of year Financial Review.

Non-profit Status

All PTAs in Virginia are organized and chartered by Virginia PTA and covered under the umbrella of Virginia PTA’s 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax-exempt status granted by the Internal Revenue Service.

Virginia PTA’s federal group exemption exempts your local unit PTA from paying federal income tax on money earned, allows donations to be claimed as tax-exempt, and enables your local PTA unit to apply for a Virginia Sales Tax Exemption. Virginia PTA files annually with the IRS to affirm your PTA is in good standing and should remain under our federal tax exemption.

As a subordinate of Virginia PTA, your local PTA is also covered in Virginia PTA’s annual filing to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). This umbrella coverage enables your local PTA to fundraise, solicit charitable contributions, host charitable gaming activities, raffles, and the like in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Standards of Affiliation Letter (aka 501(c)3 Determination Letter)

Annually, Virginia PTA provides your PTA with a Standards of Affiliation (SOA) verification letter that verifies your PTA’s good standing as a 501(c)(3) non-profit under Virginia PTA. Your SOA letter can be provided to sponsors, donors, grant makers and other companies to validate your IRS status as a 501(c)3 exempt from federal income tax as well as your coverage status with the Virginia SCC and VDACs.

Standards of Affiliation letters are automatically uploaded to your PTA’s Givebacks (MemberHub) account AFTER ALL annual Good Standing materials have been submitted to Virginia PTA via Givebacks (MemberHub). Your Annual Standard of Affiliation letter is valid from compliance due date (August 1) to compliance due date (August 1). Please be mindful of this, if you have something that you renew annually using your SOA letter, you should complete that renewal prior to your end of fiscal year transition to the incoming PTA Board. Within Givebacks (MemberHub) you will find your unit’s letter by looking under Compliance / Enter Submissions.

All Standards of Affiliation materials are due annually by August 1st.

Fiscal Year

PTAs in Virginia have a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30.

Virginia Sales Tax Exemption

Virginia sales tax exemption is not connected with the IRS or federal income tax exemption. The Virginia Department of Taxation administers the Sales Tax exemption, and can exempt your local PTA from paying sales tax on purchases. Having a sales tax exemption is not required for your PTA. Learn more about applying for Virginia Sales tax Exemption and if it is a good fit for your PTA’s spending practices. If your PTA has a Sales Tax Exemption, it typically needs to be renewed directly with the Virginia Department of Taxation every five years.

Money Management Basics

  • Three Authorized Signers. Your PTA checking account should have three authorized signers, the Treasurer, President and Secretary.
  • Two Signatures on Checks. All checks should have two signatures, ideally the Treasurer with the President as co-signer. Virginia PTA dues may be remitted electronically by just the President or Treasurer.
  • Check Recipient. You should not sign checks written to yourself or to Cash.
  • Reimbursements. All requests for reimbursement should be include a Treasurer Request/Reimbursement Form and the receipt(s). Best practice is that Reimbursement Requests are submitted within 30 days of the expense and by the last day of the school year.
  • Two People Count Cash. All cash/checks from events should be counted by two people. See Cash Management Guidance for more tips.
  • Monthly Reporting. At EVERY Executive Board and General Membership Meeting the Treasurer should provide a Bank Reconciliation Report AND a Budget Report.
  • Monthly Bank Statement Verification. One person without signature authority should review the bank statements alongside the Treasurer Reconciliation Report.
  • Keep PTA funds separate. PTA funds should NEVER be deposited into a personal account, school account or the account of any other organization or group. Likewise you should not deposit school funds or personal funds into your PTA account.

Preparing a Budget

Preparing your annual budget is an excellent opportunity for your board to talk through goals for the coming year. Remember, our mission is to advocate for the academic success, health and welfare of children and to create a supportive, inclusive school climate. You should only raise enough money to cover your needs for the year. Please be mindful of whether or not the items that you discuss raising money for are items that should be paid for by the school division or if they would create inequitable learning across your county or region. If so, you should advocate for improved resources/funding for your entire school community.

Your Executive Board should approve the proposed budget to be presented to the general membership for adoption. Per uniform bylaws, you should obtain general membership approval for any changes to the adopted budget over five hundred dollars ($500.00) per fiscal year.

Reporting At PTA Meetings

The Treasurer should provide a financial report at EVERY Executive Board and General Membership meeting. The report should include

    1. Reconciliation Report. Providing income/expenses and current balance based on your check register vs your bank statements.
    2. Budget Report. Provide line item details of your actual spending on each line item vs your budget.

At your first PTA meeting of the school year, your PTA should receive a copy of the Annual Financial Review and approve a budget.

Membership Dues Remittance (Due MONTHLY)

Membership dues should be remitted to Virginia PTA on the first of each month. Even if you are selling memberships in Givebacks (MemberHub), your President or Treasurer must still click the ‘SEND ACH PAYMENT’ button to remit dues. We encourage electronic payment!! It reduces risk of math errors and reduces the costs of collecting signatures and mailing supplies. Additionally, electronic payment provides your local unit with secure, rapid processing which facilitates a clean month-end reconciliation.

Annually, your PTA is required to directly file a 990 with the IRS in July AND provide a copy to Virginia PTA by August 1st in accordance with Local Unit Uniform Bylaws, which is a legally binding document.

The outgoing Treasurer and officers are responsible for preparing and filing the taxes for the year they oversaw.

Your Treasurer or President can file your 990 immediately at the end of the fiscal year – you do not need to wait for completion of the Annual Financial Review if your PTA earns less than $50,000 on a 3-year average. Failure to file your taxes with the IRS and report the filing to Virginia PTA can result in loss of your tax-exempt status and/or result in your EIN being revoked by the IRS.

Annual Financial Review / aka Audit (Due Aug 1st)

Completing an Annual Financial Review, by August 1st, is required under your local unit Bylaws. The purpose of the annual Financial Review or Audit is to ensure that PTAs are following proper financial procedures, practicing financial responsibility and providing transparency for their General Membership. The Financial Review will help your PTA identify gaps and opportunities to improve financial practices and get back on track with best practices.

Your Financial Review can be completed by:

    1. A Financial Review Committee of at least 3 non-authorized signers appointed by your Executive Board OR,
    2. Participate in a Financial Review Swap hosted by your Council PTA OR,
    3. Swap books with a neighboring PTA.

Participating in a Swap is a great training opportunity as it provides incoming Treasurers with a strong understanding of organizational basics, while allowing experienced Treasurers to gain insights and tips from seeing how other PTAs structure their work.

Outgoing Treasurers and officers are responsible for completing the Financial Review to report on the fiscal year they oversaw. Completing this work by August 1st enables the incoming Executive Board to use the valuable summer months to budget and prepare for the coming year.

If you are an incoming Treasurer and do not have a completed Financial Review or books/records for your previous fiscal year, you should document the lack of records and efforts to obtain the records on the Financial Review Form and submit it to Virginia PTA, with signatures of your incoming board. If you are having issues with records not being turned over in a reasonable and timely fashion then you should immediately contact your Council PTA for support.

SAMPLE SUMMER PLANNING CALENDAR (Full Treasurer Monthly Checklist)

Last Membership Meeting of the School YearAdopt a summer spending budget to support operations until the Fall Membership meeting where the full fiscal year budget is adopted
 Last Day of SchoolTarget deadline to submit all Treasurer Reimbursement Requests
 June 30Fiscal year ends and so does spending under the 202X202Y budget.
 July 1–9Treasurer reconciles checking account to June 30.  Fills out their portion of the financial review report and prepares all materials for the Financial Review Committee.
 July 10–20Financial Review Committee conducts their review and provides a full completed report to Executive Board
 July 20–30File 202X taxes for 202X202Y fiscal year and submit verification form to Virginia PTA via MemberHub by Aug. 1.
Visit the bank to update authorized signers. (Three signers is best practice. Typically the President, Treasurer and Secretary are authorized signers).
August 1
  • 990 Verification due to Virginia PTA via MemberHub
  • Fiscal Year Financial Review due to Virginia PTA via MemberHub
  • Treasurer transition complete! 
  • New Treasurer starts work on the 202X–202Y Budget in collaboration with a Budget Committee or the Executive Board. The new fiscal year budget should include any income/expenses approved by General Membership in your Summer Spending Budget.
Month of August
  • Finalize your 202Y202Z Calendar.
  • Prepare for Back to School events.
  • Verify your MemberHub account is linked to your Bank account to facilitate Membership sales (and on-line store sales) and 1-click dues payments to Virginia PTA
  • Conduct a practice run for processing payments and collecting membership dues!
First General Membership Meeting of 202Y–202Z General Membership votes to adopt the 202X202Y financial review report and a 202Y202Z budget.