Treasurers Frequently Asked Questions
Question: When does the new treasurer take over the books?
Answer: According to your bylaws, the Treasurer takes office on the first day of the fiscal year, usually July 1. Before a new Treasure takes over the books, the outgoing Treasurer should arrange for the books to be audited by a committee consisting of at least three non-check signers. The Treasurer is not part of the Audit Committee, but should be available for questions and should provide all of the materials related to the finances of the unit (budget, minutes, treasurer reports, bank statements, cancelled checks, vouchers, recepts, etc. See the NYS PTA Resource Guide for suggested procedures for the Audit Committee. Once the Audit Committee completes its work, it then turns all of the books over to the new Treasurer. One the first things the new Treasurer must do is to go to the bank to update the signature cards for the new officers.
Question: Can I pay sales tax when we purchase our merchandise for sale so I don’t have to collect it when we sell it?
Answer: No, sales tax must be collected from the end user (customer) on the retail price, not the wholesale price.
Question: Can we have a fundraiser to raise money for a student who needs an operation?
Answer: No. Funds cannot be raised through the PTA for an individual, no matter how worthy the cause.
Question: Do I have to pay sales tax on prizes purchased as giveaways at a carnival?
Answer: No, items purchased for PTA use are exempt from sales tax. As these items are not sold, neither would sales tax be collected.
Question: Our unit needs a replacement copy of our NYS Tax Exempt Certificate, form ST-119. How do we get one?
Answer: The unit president or treasurer can call the NYS Dept. of Taxation and Finance (518-485-2889) to obtain a replacement copy. You will need your unit’s FEIN and NYS Sales Tax Exempt number. The tax department will send a new copy with a week or two. The form must be mailed to the school or school district address. It cannot be mailed to an officer’s home address. Remember to let the school’s office know the form is coming to your PTA. Go totax.ny.gov/bus/st/exempt.htm for more information.
Question: If we make no profit on our school supplies, do we have to collect and pay sales tax?
Answer: Yes, profit is not a factor in determining what items you must collect sales tax on.
Question: How much money can we carry over to next year?
Answer: There is no established minimum or maximum amount. It will vary from PTA to PTA based upon when each holds its fundraisers. If you have no fundraiser until spring, you will need to carry over more than if you’re major fundraisers is in the early fall. However, a PTA should not raise more funds than is necessary to run the PTA and its planned programs and activities.
Question: A local business wants to make a contribution to our PTA but needs proof of our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. What do we do?
Answer: Give them a copy of your IRS Letter of Determination letters. This will be a Letter of Determination for NYS PTA and a letter from the NYS PTA Treasurer that states that your unit is under the umbrella of the NYS PTA nonprofit status and therefore a nonprofit as well. Contact your Region Director/Assistant Director if your unit do not have one on file.
Question: Can our PTA give door prizes?
Answer: Yes, as long as the PTA membership has approved the membership and its associated expenditure. This expenditure should be included in the budget.
Question: Can our PTA be a paying member of our local Chamber of Commerce?
Answer: Yes, as long as the PTA membership has approved the membership and its associated expenditure. This expenditure is included in the budget.
The following questions may be used as guidelines in selecting and planning a money-raising project that will be both successful and worthy of the PTA:
Question: Can the fundraiser be justified by the Purposes of PTA?
Answer: If the reason for the fundraiser can not be easily justified by one of the Purposes of PTA, it should not be considered.
Question: Does it conform to the basic policies stated in your bylaws?
Answer: The basic policies require that PTA be noncommercial, nonsectarian, and nonpartisan. Though PTA may never endorse a product or person, it may deal with commercial firms to plan fundraising events. (refer to National PTA’s online resources at www.pta.org)
Question: Will it create good will for the PTA, enlisting the participation of many persons and creating a spirit of comradeship?
Answer: A fundraising event can be a means of creating a sense of community and of attracting advocates for children.
Question: If children take part in the project, have their welfare and safety been considered with utmost care?
Answer: A fundraising event should not take advantage of children’s willingness and inexperience and should avoid pressuring them. Great care and caution must be exercised when children are asked to participate. When children take part in projects, their share should be either a natural outgrowth of regular school work or a constructive leisure time activity. PTA must not exploit children.
Question: Is it an activity that serves as an example for children and youth and reinforces their pride in their parents and teachers?
Answer: Fundraising events should be selected with care, reflecting the moral sense and attitudes in the community.
Question: Are school regulations with regard to fire laws and safety precautions strictly observed when the project is held in a school building?
Answer: Prior to the event all safety factors such as maximum capacity, fire exits, accessibility for the handicapped, etc., should be reviewed with the appropriate authorities. Fundraising events held elsewhere should be held to the same scrutiny.
Question: Do local, state or federal laws, State Education Department regulations, and New York State Constitution apply?
Answer: Care must be taken to see that no law is violated. The project must have the approval and support of school authorities. There are many local, state, and federal laws and tax regulations that must be considered in relation to fundraising activities. Since the problems vary so much from community to community and are so dependent on the type of activity involved, it might be well for a PTA to discuss the proposed fundraising project with appropriate PTA region board members and local officials. Some fundraising events may be questionable. It is highly recommended that the approval and support of school authorities who are knowledgeable of education law be obtained when a school building is to be used.
Question: Can a unit, council or Region accept sponsorship as a source of raising funds?
Answer: Sponsorship must be aligned with the purposes of PTA. Companies that provide goods or services in conflict with PTA purposes, resolutions or positions should not be accepted.
Question: May an individual PTA member accept gifts or incentives in consideration for partnering with a company? Answer: Gifts and/or incentives are not appropriate. PTA fundraising activities should not be a source of personal gain for any child or adult.