Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators
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Managing Local Unit Finances

Although the local unit treasurer is responsible for the day-to-day handling of local unit finances, ensuring fiscal responsibility is an important part of every executive officer’s role. To ensure your local unit complies with ATPE Local Unit Charter Standards, you must submit your local unit's annual treasurer's report and July bank statement to the state office by November 30 of each year. 

Most local units will not have state or federal tax filings. If you have questions, please call the state office. 

Local unit financial records 

  • Financial records, such as bank statements and canceled checks, should be kept for seven years and then shredded. 
  • State tax returns should be kept for four years and then shredded. 
  • Federal tax returns should be kept in perpetuity. 

Local unit funding sources 

Member dues 

  • Local unit dues—Your local unit determines this amount. Local unit dues collected by the state office and not via payroll deduction will be sent to local units in November. Local unit dues collected via payroll deduction will be returned to local units in February. 
  • Local unit rebates—2.5% of the dues from each local unit member who is also a state member is refunded in February of each year. Rebates are distributed via direct deposit only. 

Financial assistance 

Local Unit Initiative Fund 

The ATPE Initiative Fund helps financially needy local units defray the costs of recruitment and retention activities. Local units may request up to $500. Funds may not be used toward the costs of attending the summit or for awards, grants, and scholarships. Local units must set their professional-category dues at $5 or more to be eligible for this fund. (Funds are distributed via direct deposit.) 

How do local units use their initiative fund money? 

  • A 38-member local unit hosted a teacher hamburger luncheon with its funds. 
  • A 57-member local unit used funds to hold an end-of-year member appreciation dinner
  • A 70-member local unit used funds to create goodie bags for employees at the district’s new high school. 
  • A 120-member local unit received funds to promote a “Welcome Back” local unit meeting and to purchase ATPE promotional items and door prizes for attendees. 
  • A 157-member local unit used the funds to purchase officer and campus representative supplies and promotional items for its new-teacher orientation and district convocation. 

For more information please see this Local Unit Initiative Form or contact the Volunteer Program Coordinator at volunteer@atpe.org 

Travel assistance 

The state office provides financial support in the form of travel and lodging allowances to help local units send leaders to the summit and, from time to time, to other state-sponsored events, such as ATPE at the Capitol. To qualify, local units must charge professional members local unit dues of at least $5. (Note: University local units need not meet this requirement.) Funds are distributed via direct deposit. 

Region assistance 

Local units can request financial assistance from their ATPE region officers. Email your region president to see if such assistance is available. 

Financial oversight and fiscal responsibility 

Financial oversight tools 

Local Unit Budget Worksheet   
 
Financial Reporting Workbook for region and local unit use—simplifies  reconciliation and the financial auditing process 
 
Your local unit’s executive committee should meet annually or when a new treasurer is elected to review local unit finances. Bank statements should be reviewed monthly. Appropriate oversight of your members’ dues dollars requires diligence and must involve all local unit officers. 
 
Evaluate your answers to the following questions to determine if your local unit has the appropriate financial safeguards in place. If the local unit treasurer cannot provide the necessary records, or if the answers to these questions are unsatisfactory, contact the ATPE state office for guidance. 

  • Does your local unit meet at the beginning of the fiscal year to prepare the budget? 
  • Does your local unit and/or the executive officers receive periodic (at least annual) treasurer’s reports that show receipts, disbursements and bank account balances? 
  • Do the executive officers review the local unit’s bank statements each month? 
  • Are bank statements and account reconciliations available for review at financial report meetings? 
  • Were deposits from major sources of revenue (state dues rebates, local unit dues, etc.) made? 
  • Were all disbursements authorized? Do they appropriately reflect the local unit’s activities? 
  • Were checks written to the appropriate people? (Review the local unit checkbook and, if available, canceled checks.) 
  • Were any checks written to “cash”—if so, are there receipts for the purchases? 
  • Does your local unit require two signatures on all checks written by the local unit (if permitted by your financial institution)?  
  • Are the signatures on the checks only those of the authorized signatories? 
  • If canceled checks are available for review, are checks endorsed by the same people or businesses to which they were written? 
  • Is documentation of expenditures (i.e., receipts and travel vouchers) available for review? 

Region income tax returns 

The IRS requires all tax-exempt organizations that normally receive more than $50,000 annually in gross receipts* to file Form 990 or 990EZ (Return of Organizations Exempt from Income Tax). As a benefit, ATPE will complete Form 990 for you, assuming that your gross receipts* normally exceed $50,000 annually. These returns are due to the IRS by December 15 of each year. The ATPE state office will automatically electronically file for all regions with receipts of less than $50,000 per year. 
 
If your organization has a gross income of $1,000 or more from a business unrelated to the organization’s tax-exempt purpose, you might be required to file other forms. Please call ATPE Accounting at (800) 777-ATPE for additional information. 
 
*Gross receipts should not include any state dues unless you deposit the dues and interest is earned on the state organization’s money. 

 Suggested uses of local unit funds 

Each local unit should allocate its financial resources in order to maximize its success and growth. Use this list of budget items (in order of priority) to plan your local unit budget. 

  • Membership recruitment and retention: Activities associated with the fall membership campaign, including purchase of promo items, new-teacher orientation preparation, and print-and-handling costs for campaign materials. 
  • Leader support: Training, awards, luncheons, and gifts used to recognize and reward volunteer leaders’ efforts. 
  • Event attendance: Costs of attending the ATPE Summit and ATPE at the Capitol. 
  • General operations: Purchase of leader supplies,meeting materials, and local unit communications (newsletter production, website maintenance, etc.). 
  • Advocacy: Development of school board relations, interaction with state legislators, political involvement training sessions and candidate forums, and promotion of contributions to ATPE-PAC. 
  • Community service: Volunteering at shelters, coat and food drives, and food and financial donations. 
  • Reserve: Year-end balances should be sufficient to fund activities until next year’s revenue is received; excessive local unit balances are discouraged. 

Fundraisers 

Although fundraisers might provide additional financial resources for local unit operations, approach them with caution. Although income from “occasional” fundraisers is tax-exempt, revenue from “regularly” conducted fundraisers or activities unrelated to the tax-exempt purpose is not. A local unit that plans to conduct more than one fundraiser should seek tax advice. 
 
Before you conduct a fundraiser, contact ATPE’s Volunteer Program Coordinator for guidance. 

Tax concerns 

  • If your region or local unit generates more than $50,000 in local unit dues, rebates, interest, and fundraisers, you must report it to the IRS, even though it is not taxable. For assistance, call ATPE Accounting at (800) 777-ATPE. 
  • Regardless of the 501(c)(6) designation, ATPE still pays state property, sales, and hotel occupancy taxes. When ATPE purchases office supplies and other taxable goods and services for its own use, the applicable state sales taxes are paid. 
  • You must pay sales tax when purchasing supplies that will be used for the benefit of the local unit or region. Unless regularly conducting sales, we suggest paying sales tax when purchasing items for resale. To claim sales-tax exemption for items your region resells, you must: Apply for a sales tax number; issue a resale certificate; collect taxes at time of sale; and pay taxes to the Texas State Comptroller. Generally, it is better to pay sales tax when purchasing items for local unit or region use in order to more readily guarantee an accurate and timely accounting of sales taxes. 
  • Income from dues, interest, and occasional fundraisers is tax-exempt. Revenue not directly related to tax-exempt purposes may be taxable (e.g., regularly conducted bazaars, garage sales, etc.). 
  • Call ATPE Accounting if you receive IRS inquiries, and keep supporting documentation (receipts, invoices, statements, etc.) in order to comply with IRS reporting requirements. 
  • All solicitations in print (other than those related to raffles) must state that contributions are not tax-deductible as charitable contributions.