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Nonprofit Law/Competitive Coach Training


We are a 501c3 gymnastics booster club.  Can a booster club pay for the competitive coaches training?  Can they pay for the training fee, stipend and expenses so the coaches can get the advanced training they need or does the gym owner have to pay for it  The coaches are employees of a "for profit" gym.

Thank you for your time.

The IRS rule for what nonprofits may spend money on is similar to the standard that the IRS uses when determining what is a valid business expense for an ordinary business. For example, at the IRS refers extensively to the regular business expense rules and applies them to 501(c)(3) organizations. See also which is Publication 535 relating to "Business Expenses" on page 3, under "What Can I Deduct":
--start of excerpt  ---
To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.
--end of excerpt  ---

In the right column of page 7 of that IRS Publication 535 under the heading "Education Expenses", the IRS explains that  "If you pay or reimburse education expenses for an employee, you can deduct the payments  if they are part of a qualified educational assis­tance program."  Therefore, even for an employee, expenses may not be deducted if the program is not part of a qualified educational assistance program, which is detailed in section 2 of Publication 15­-B is available at (starting on the right column of page 9).  In conclusion, a 501(c)(3) organization may not pay for a non-employee's training.

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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