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Nonprofit Law/Volunteers and Liability Insurance Nonprofit


I'm asking a few questions, to which I hope aren't confusing. In setting up the nonprofit that I am doing, we have organized and filed as needed, however, I've hit a couple of trouble spots. One question is, am I an employee as President and chairman, or can I be a volunteer as well (as in, do there have to be any employees at all for an organization)? Also, if I don't hire anyone (unless I have to consider myself as employee), would I or not have to register with BWC and JFS? Lastly, if we were set up as all volunteers, if possible, would liability insurance be recommended or not?

If the only payments or compensation anyone receipts are reimbursements for substantiated expenses then there is no employee tax reporting requirement and you would not need to register with any State employment agency. For example, the State of New York Department of Labor has on page 22 of one of
their publications, "The term volunteer means a person who works for a nonprofitmaking institution under no contract of hire, express or implied, and with no promise of compensation, other than reimbursement for expenses as part of the conditions of work."

The issue of liability insurance is not a question as to whether you have volunteers but is a question of what possibilities you have for corporate exposures.  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 issue about liability insurance is beyond that and I would need to spend a substantial amount of time.  If you want to hire me, send me an email directly to my email address below and I will quote you my fees.  However, if an organization does not have much in assets and little possible exposure I tend to discourage giving funds to a for-profit insurance company that could otherwise be used for charitable purposes.

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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