You are here:

Nonprofit Law/Ticket donation refund


We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization New Jersy state with Feseral and state determination letters.
We recently presented a Talent contest. A parent of one of the contestants purchased 10 tickets for the reduced price of tickets to the event one day before the event and emailed us stating she wanted to pull the child out if contest and wanted her $250. returned for tickets.
Are we obligated to return monies.
The tickets were originally $40. per ticket. We made the discount available to all contestants with deadline for discount one week before the actual event. This particularly parent went pass the deadline and we extended the discount to her trying to be accommodating to her.

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 matter is 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, I will inform you that if your group did not either directly or through their published ticket solicitations did not have any refund policy, then your group would not be obligated to give a refund.

The payment was not a retail purchase so the purchaser is not protected by the State's law regarding those types of refunds. Most states require stores to post their return policies by the cash register or print it on the receipt. Service contracts, (e.g., dating services, wireless phone contracts, etc.) usually give consumers a three day right to cancel but those would not apply to 501(c)(3) organization sales of tickets to an event.

As for any refund, that is controlled by state contract law and there would not be any difference as to whether the funds were paid to a for-profit or to a 501(c)(3) organization.

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

Nonprofit Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.