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Nonprofit Law/Gymnastic Boosters Account


My Daughter recently quit gymnastics.  2 weeks before she quit we paid 500 dollars into her personal booster account.  Can I get this money back since it was put into her account and it wasn't put into the clubs general fund.  I was told by the President of the booster club that it was considered a donation to the club and that I couldn't get any of the money back.  Any insight to this would be greatly appreciated.

It appears that you had an oral or written contract with the booster organization that, if you put funds in to your daughter's account it would be used for her gym fees.  It is not a donation any more than college tuition is a donation. The IRS has written on page 1 (first column under "Introduction")
in their publication 526 "Charitable Donations", which is available
at: "A charitable contribution is
a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization.
It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get,
anything of equal value."

I have in my profile that this free forum is only for relevant IRS
federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. There is no
federal law relating to issuing refunds for fees paid.

Even though your issue is a question of state law, I will give you
some general advice.  The first effort you should make is to find
out what the 501(c)(3) organization had informed you, before your
payment, either directly or through their published club rules
regarding refunds.  Your payment was not a retail purchase so you
are not protected by the State's law regarding those types of
refunds. Most states require stores to post their return policies
by the cash register or print it on the receipt. Service contracts,
(e.g., dating services, wireless phone contracts, etc.) usually
give consumers a three day right to cancel but those would not
apply to 501(c)(3) organization dues. Make sure you send your
cancellation request and request for refund in writing via
certified mail. In any case, you may be covered in what is called
the common law equitable principle called unjust enrichment and the
small claims court would be able to decide on the matter, but,
generally, the claim under unjust enrichment would not apply if
there is a contract that addresses the issue of refunds.

As for any refund, that is controlled by state contract law and
there would not be any difference as to whether the service fees
were paid to a for-profit or to a 501(c)(3) organization. You would
need to review your oral or written contract.  Universities publish
their refund schedules and, most of them do not grant any refunds
on tuition paid even if a student drops out only after the first
few weeks of a term.  For example see
which is the refund schedule of George Washington University
which shows that no refund will be granted after 4 weeks of a

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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