Nonprofit Law/Booster Club


QUESTION: My high school only has a varsity hockey team.  A bunch of the parents have gotten together to form a booster club and decided to fundraise in order to form a JV team as well as have members of the booster club pay dues to cover costs which are not getting covered by the school such as extra ice time, uniforms, tournaments, travel, year end ceremonies, trophies.  The monies will be used for all the kids on both varsity and jv.  We are in NY and would incorporate under code section 402 and file as a 501(c)(3) so that monies raised are deductible.  Would we qualify as a 501(c)(3)?

ANSWER: Yes, such booster organizations are qualified as 501(c)(3) organizations as long as they comply with the IRS regulations. My summary of IRS regulations relating to 501(c)(3) booster organizations is at and you may be interested to read that.

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: Will member dues be considered a tax deductible contribution if we are granted 501(c)(3) status.  Are donations from non-members or businesses towards the booster considered deductible donations.  Also how long does it take to get approved by the IRS?

As to charitable deductions, see IRS Publication 526 "Charitable Donations"  which is available at on page 4, first column,  "You may be able to deduct membership
fees or dues you pay to a qualified organization. However, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the value of the benefits you receive."

If parents are paying dues and parents of JV members are not required to pay dues, then the donations are, therefore, deductible as long as the IRS grants exemption determination to the organization as a 501(c)(3) public charity and the families are not receiving any direct benefits in return for the dues.

Donations from non-members or businesses towards the booster are deductible donations also.

The IRS may take months to issue the exemption determination letter, but as long as you file your exemption application within 27 months and are approved for exemption status by the IRS you may
begin full operations upon state incorporation. See IRS Publication 557 "Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization" which has on page 23, middle column, under the heading "Effective date of exemption" that the exemption determination is granted retroactively to the date of formation which is normal for 501(c)(3) organizations that apply for exemption within the first
27 months of their formation. "If the organization files the application within this 27 -month period, the organization's exemption will be recognized retroactively to the date it was organized."

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.  

Nonprofit Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2016 All rights reserved.