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Nonprofit Law/coaches travel reimbursement


We are a non profit parent booster club.  We do fundraising but we also serve as a pass through to pay for our competition costs and our coaches fees.  We have a coach trying to expense an extended hotel stay.  We are traveling Thurs-Friday and he wishes to add another night to his travel for personal business and stay till Sunday.  He is upset that we are not allowing reimbursement for the extra nights hotel.  Aside from being an unreasonable request is there any law within the 501(c)3 which would legally prevent us from doing so?  Thanks

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. On page 32 we see "Reimbursements are
technically covered by Regs. 1.62-2.  However, for administrative purposes, all TE/GE [Tax Exempt & Government Entities Division] administrative personnel will treat reimbursements of a business expense the same as if the expense were paid directly by the employer, as long as the employee complies with the substantiation rules..."
See also: "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  ---

His extra night is not indispensable nor necessary for your competition and, therefore, is not reimburseable under the rules that would apply to enable you and him to not treat that night's reimbursement as taxable compensation to him.

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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