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Nonprofit Law/legal expenses for 501C3


what types of expenses can be paid under a 501 C3?  snowmobile club raises funds for grooming trails, etc.   can we legally purchase equipment for the work that needs to be done on trails?

can we pay to send flowers for funeral to one of the members or members family.

I assume all expenses that relate to the work done on trails can legally be done but not expense such as flowers or paying for hotel rooms for members on club trip for enjoyment no education expenses would be involved.

A 501(c)(3) organization may only spend its funds for charitable, educational or religious activities.  You may legally purchase equipment for the work that needs to be done on the trail, but a 501(c)(3) organization or a government entity must maintain ownership.

Flowers for a funeral is a minor violation, but it would be better to have some of the members collect funds outside of the 501(c)(3) organization and use that for the benefit of member's families.  Your assumptions are correct.

Sorry for the delay in the answer to your question. has, for the last 10 days not been sending me the questions to answer.

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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