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Nonprofit Law/volunteer personal reimbursement


QUESTION: I am a team manager for a youth soccer club. I submitted for a expense reimbursement for a soccer tournament, I received the check reimbursement.  Our team decided not to attend the tournament, I contacted the nonprofit office via email providing check number and telling them I shredded the check at work. 7 days later I receive a email from the president of the soccer club stating that she needs the check back.  I obviously can not provide her with the check since I shredded it.  I was never trained on the clubs check "void" procedure. She tells me she will charge my team the $35.00 stop check fee.  I told her she can't do that since I didn't know anything about this procedure and there is nothing in writing anywhere in the team mgmt manual for me to know that I should mail the check back.  2 weeks later I receive another reimbursement from a different tournament with a $35.00 deducted from my personal reimbursement. I requested a copy from the bank , they sent the form they submitted to then bank dated 24 hrs prior to my request, meaning they deducted the $35 from me but never sent in the request until I asked for documentation.  I know this practice is not ethical but can the president of the club do this?  I am a parent volunteer I am not employed by the club nor should I be responsible for the clubs procedures that I was not aware of or trained on.  Thank you.

ANSWER: I have in my profile that this free forum is only for general questions about IRS federal exemption issues of 501(c)(3) organizations. Your issues are controlled by state law and states may differ somewhat with how they would treat such issues. Even though this forum is not for such state law issues, if you give me your state I may be able to direct you.  Normally under state law a person would be responsible for damages incurred by others based upon negligence.  Even though the check was made out to your name, many companies have a policy that they will put stop payments on lost checks.  But even in case of a lost check the company, without notifying you ahead of time, could only charge you for their bank fees for the stop payment order (which I believe would have been substantially less than $35.  You can check with that bank as to their fees for business accounts and stopped payments.  I understand that $35 may be a substantial amount for you to lose, so I suggest that you write the President of the Soccer club explaining that you will take the club to small claims court over the $35 if you are not given that back, because you informed her that the check was not lost.  You destroyed it and that she should have believed you on that.  I will not guess though, what the judge's decision would be in the small claims court action.

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.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am in MN. The question is as a parent volunteer should I be responsible for the bank fee if I was not trained on the check void procedure?  
Thank you!

As I wrote earlier state law questions are beyond the scope of this forum, but generally, you would not need to be training or notified of certain procedures to be still liable for negligence, meaning for acting contrary to what an average person would know if reasonable.  My opinion is that it is reasonable for you to have torn up the check, though.

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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