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Nonprofit Law/501(c)(3) charging mandatory fee

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QUESTION: Can a booster organization charge a mandatory fee for a student to participate in an extra-curricular activity? This is above the school district pay to play fee that allows the students to participate per the district rules. This fee is for participation, not goods consumed by the student. This is also not a fee to be a member of the booster organization.

ANSWER: By definition a booster organization does not conduct activities other than raising funds and giving funds.  Therefore, it has no authority to charge a student for a fee to participate in a school extra-curricular activity. Only if the school requires the students to pay fees to the booster organization, which would then pass on the fees to the school, could a 501(c)(3) booster organization conceivably be allowed to required such a fee.

My summary of IRS regulations relating to 501(c)(3) booster organizations is at http://goo.gl/IdQwML and you may be interested to read that.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

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. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

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QUESTION: Is it then the case that a booster organization is not allowed to charge the parents of the students a fee to be a member of the booster organization and have voting rights during meetings? I am understanding that the parents of students participating in an group supported by the booster organization are automatically members of said organization, with no fee required. Is that correct?

Answer
A booster organization may charge parents of the students a fee to be a member of the booster organization and have voting rights during meetings.  However, a 501(c)(3) booster organization may not require parents to join the organization and may not require any payments from them if they do not want to join.

Families are not ever "automatically" members of a 501(c)(3) booster organization unless that membership includes only rights and no obligations. Actually, most state courts would rule, as is the statutory law in Minnesota, that a person or organization cannot automatically be made a member of a nonprofit organization (without the person's express or implied consent). http://goo.gl/H1MJB6


Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law
Harvey108@hotmail.com

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. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather more information.

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Harvey Mechanic

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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 Harvey108@hotmail.com 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 "site:allexperts.com/q/nonprofit" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials

B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.


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