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Nonprofit Law/Payments to a 501(c)3 organization


We are a 501(c)6 organization that in involved in the start of a 501(c)3 organization.  Recently the 501(c)6 organization hosted an event to directly benefit the 501(c)3 organization.  In a nutshell, fees were collected for the attendance of the event and attendees were instructed to make payment directly to the 501(c)3.  Two issues:

1) One attendee paid by check and made the check payable to the 501(c)3.  An error was made within our office and this check was deposited to the account of the 501(c)6.  Is it permissible to cut a check from the 501(c)6 to the 501(c)3 so that the money (eventually) ends up in the right place?

2) A different attendee paid by check and made the check payable to the 501(c)6.  This check has not yet been deposited.  Is it permissible to deposit this check into the account of the 501(c)6 and then cut a check to the 501(c)3 so that they money (eventually) ends up in the right place?  I assume that it would be better to contact the attendee and explain the situation, however, since the payment would be handled differently for tax purposes on their end.  Is this correct?

1.  That is fine.  Treat it as a pass-through.

2.  For the donors's records in case audited, I suggest that you send the check back and request one made to the c3.

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


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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