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Booster club and meet fees?

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MaryA

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My DD is on a new team which, therefore, has a new booster club, so we're still trying to figure out the logistics of everything. Are your meet fees paid through the booster club or through the gym? Ours are currently paid through the booster club, but it is leaving our treasurer in the unfortunate position of having to act as "bill collector" when someone neglects to pay on time, which is not what she signed on to do. Does your gym have a rule that, if someone doesn't pay their child's meet fees before the due date (in spite of frequent reminders), the child can't attend the meet? HC is afraid that if we do that, parents will come to think of the meets as being "optional." We're not talking about kids with a conflict on meet day whose parents have talked to the coach. We're talking about people who have just not paid. There are, apparently, parents who are currently several meets behind on their payments. Thoughts? Advice?

Thanks in advance!
 
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cher062

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Meet fees should go through the gym office not the booster club. Otherwise it counts a Booster income which for tax purposes and to the government counts as something to be taxed. This money shouldn't go through the booster accounts but through the gyms bank.

If the boosters are the ones paying for a meet as a benifit to the membership then the gym should bill the boosters for the fees and the members of the booster should be fundraising the money or do a buyout so they don't have to fundraise.

Its not the boosters job to chase after the gyms parents to collect unpaid fees due to the gym. It's not the boosters job to do the "or else" that is the gym's job. A good rule to follow is if the boosters didn't exist who would need to collect that money - If its the gym then its the gyms issue I would have a talk with the owner and have him do his own collection at his office window.

It is said that 75% of boosters opperate illegally and it sounds like you may fall into that catagory. There are actually state and federal rules as to what we can do and what we can't do. If you have over $5000 being deposited into your bank account you are required to be come a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt group with the federal government.

This document is from the IRS on booster clubs - http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopica93.pdf

OUr boosters have spent the last 3 months making sure we are now legal and are in the process of getting our tax exemp status.
 
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flipper's fan

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Our meet fees are handled by the booster club. We are in compliance with the IRS and all applicable rules and are a 501 3 c non profit. We have a tax attorney. It's not me, so I don't want to tell you how you can and cannot run your booster club legally. I just wanted to share some information about handling the collections aspect that might be helpful.

So, yes, we do have to act like a collection agency at times. Our board always reminds ourselves that the people we are dealing with are "us", other gym parents of our daughter's teammates. It's really hard to say to a parent that we are not going to register their child for a meet because they are behind in payments. We usually try to explain to the parent that we don't as an organization have extra money to pay for registrations, and we ask them if they can make a payment plan until they catch up. And we start right away with the first late payment because it is easier to set the tone mildly and to reinforce that there isn't any other money to pay the meet fee if they don't pay it. That also keeps us in compliance with rules against inurement of money from fundraising. In my former gym, it was handled this way as well, but they also had a contract the parent signed at the beginning of the season, outlining the payment and suspension policy.
 
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MaryA

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Yes, our accountant doesn't have a problem with the booster club taking in meet fees as long as it's a "pass through" (we take lots of checks from parents and write one check for the meet fees). She DID have a problem with "individual accounts," which is something that some some parents are still coming to terms with. We didn't have them at our previous gym, so it's nothing new to me, but most of the parents did.

FF, at your gym, is it the responsibility of the board's treasurer to "police" the payment or non-payment of the meet fees?
 

maryRS

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Jan 18, 2011
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As far as IRS rules, you can pay out of the booster club, but it can get very tricky if you start denying someone entrance to a meet, even if 12 people paid and the 1 did not. To be in compliance you should register as a tax exempt, and while it would be ok to collect money and use it for meet fees etc., one important part of the compliance issue is that it cannot benefit anyone individual and must benefit the group as a whole. A better way to handle meet fees is to either figure out the approximate amount and set up a parent type account for each gymnast, and their donations and fundraising efforts go individually into their account, or have it be part of your tuition.

My DD is on a new team which, therefore, has a new booster club, so we're still trying to figure out the logistics of everything. Are your meet fees paid through the booster club or through the gym? Ours are currently paid through the booster club, but it is leaving our treasurer in the unfortunate position of having to act as "bill collector" when someone neglects to pay on time, which is not what she signed on to do. Does your gym have a rule that, if someone doesn't pay their child's meet fees before the due date (in spite of frequent reminders), the child can't attend the meet? HC is afraid that if we do that, parents will come to think of the meets as being "optional." We're not talking about kids with a conflict on meet day whose parents have talked to the coach. We're talking about people who have just not paid. There are, apparently, parents who are currently several meets behind on their payments. Thoughts? Advice?

Thanks in advance!
 

thefellowsmom

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We have a booster club and are a 501c organization, but the gym handles meet fees and such. We pay an extra payment on top of our tuition for a portion of the year. This covers meet fees, leos, warmups, coaches travel etc.

Our booster club is in charge of running and staffing the meet as well as any additional fundraising to offset costs. Some of the money from the meet goes to the gym owner, some to the HC to buy any new equipment we need and some to the booster club. Then at the end of the year, all the money is added up and it is voted on how much money should be divied up to the parents and how much carried over to the following year. This is done equally regardless of participation.

Our booster is also in charge of all the "fun" stuff like parties and team builders and such.
 

MaryA

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A better way to handle meet fees is to either figure out the approximate amount and set up a parent type account for each gymnast, and their donations and fundraising efforts go individually into their account, or have it be part of your tuition.
This is what we have been told by our accountant that we can NOT do. No individual accounts.
 

MaryA

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Then at the end of the year, all the money is added up and it is voted on how much money should be divied up to the parents and how much carried over to the following year.
What do you mean by this? Do you put the money towards the following year's meet fees? You don't mean you write each parent a check or something?
 

flipper's fan

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Mary A- we also have been advised no individual accounts. Fundraised money cannot inure to any individual so collected monies are just a pass through as you described. It is the treasurer who actually works with the parent to obtain the money owed. At my old gym there were a few instances when the president wrote a letter to the parent who was very delinquent. I think keeping it with the treasureer helps provide some privacy for the family who may be having diffculty paying.
 

maryRS

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Well it can't be part of the booster club, it technically acts the same way your account with the gym does.
This is what we have been told by our accountant that we can NOT do. No individual accounts.
 

maryRS

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Um, here is the IRS pub in case you are interested ;)
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopica93.pdf

Way back when my oldest was in soccer/tball etc., I volunteered to be the "treasurer" of his local club (he is in college now so this goes way back. I am a CPA. Well, let's just say there was so much non compliance it made my head spin. I was a do gooder, or so I thought, thinking I would help them get their act together. Turns out they really were not interested but just wanted me to sign docs and deal with the IRS notices that they kept getting. Problem was, it got to the point, where I could not in good faith sign the docs without the necessary review and in turn, compliance. It was a long several years and it stressed me out so much. That was the last time I ever volunteered to get involved in this sort of stuff. I personally feel outside counsel is a good idea, but it's too expensive, I get that. It does seem that most gyms, and some bigger sports organizations do make more of an effort to comply but, well, it wasn't worth losing my license over.

Our gym does a decent job, but we are a Y, which is a very big organization as you know. The Y does have lawyers and a lot of this policy stuff does funnel down, and sooner or later, our gym powers are told when they are not compliant - and that is fine with me lol - most people at the gym don't know I'm a CPA
My DD is on a new team which, therefore, has a new booster club, so we're still trying to figure out the logistics of everything. Are your meet fees paid through the booster club or through the gym? Ours are currently paid through the booster club, but it is leaving our treasurer in the unfortunate position of having to act as "bill collector" when someone neglects to pay on time, which is not what she signed on to do. Does your gym have a rule that, if someone doesn't pay their child's meet fees before the due date (in spite of frequent reminders), the child can't attend the meet? HC is afraid that if we do that, parents will come to think of the meets as being "optional." We're not talking about kids with a conflict on meet day whose parents have talked to the coach. We're talking about people who have just not paid. There are, apparently, parents who are currently several meets behind on their payments. Thoughts? Advice?

Thanks in advance!
 

vagymmomma

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Our booster club collects the meet fees and expenses as part of monthly dues. The dues are priced to match the best estimates of all meet expenses, so there is no expectation of a profit. We publish the budgeted meet expenses and the related meet cost per gymnast (per level) on the website so it's very transparent.

We are also a 501(c)(3) and are very careful to not violate any of the private inurement rules. We have level reps that take the heavy load on the late fee follow-up. Most of the time it's just folks that lost track of a payment and are very apologetic at being late. A quick email reminder does the trick. It's kind of funny because it's the same families year after year that tend to be late. Our official rule is that a gymmie can't compete if they're not paid up on their dues, but I know there have been a couple meets where the parents were delinquent on payments and they were still allowed to compete. We try to keep the gymnasts best interest in mind. Thankfully we've never encountered a situation where a reminder or two doesn't do the trick.
 

gymmomntc2e6

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our meet fees are paid by the parents to the booster club. the booster club then writes a check to the host gym for the individial & team fees for those regidlstered. you must pay to be registered. i keep track of who has paid & who has not & send lots of reminders. as deadlines come close i let HC know if anyone has not yet paid & she handles that.
 
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flipper's fan

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It's great when you can work together with the coaches to get the message to the family. I think it help focus the connection on the child being able to compete rather than on paying a bill.
 

gymmomtoo

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Our booster club collects the meet fees. If you don't pay the meet fee by the due date, your gymnast is not registered for that meet. If you do not register your gymnast for a meet and have not talked with the head coach about it ahead of time, then our HC (and owner) states you are not part of team--he says it is a competitive team, so if you don't do competitions, you aren't on team. I don't know that they've ever had to ask someone to leave though.

We also have a tax attorney and how we operate is in accordance with law, per him.

I don't think it's fair to the other gymnastics parents that some people get by without paying. Where is that money coming from?? I wouldn't want to be subsidizing another team family!
 

thefellowsmom

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What do you mean by this? Do you put the money towards the following year's meet fees? You don't mean you write each parent a check or something?
You know, I honestly don't know. Last year was the first year that we would have had enough money to dole out and it was voted to carry it over instead so that we would have a better budget this year for the meet and such. We also took some of the money and gave small "scholarships" to those gymnasts who made nationals to offset their travel expenses.

I would assume that it would work one of two ways. Either the money would be handed over to the club and the next years meet fee amount would be reduced by the appropriate amount. Or, a credit would be issued to our accounts. I guess they could write everyone checks, but that would be cumbersome.

Last year was my first year being part of it all, so I am not super knowledgeable here. When we were discussing it, the only thing that came up is that it would have to be given in equal amounts to every family for tax reasons. This seems to be the crux of fundraising and the reason we still don't have a big booster club presence. Not everyone want to participate in booster club, yet we have to give them money anyway. Seems to be holding us back on that front.

These accounts I mentioned are with the gym, not the booster club. You have an account in the system. We are highly encouraged to do automatic monthly payments with a checking account or credit card, but how you pay isn't tied to whether you have an account or not. Everyone - rec, team, whatever - is in the system and credits can be added to the account.

I know that the gym owner has done a couple of fundraising activities and the small amounts that he has earned have been added to the account and then your monthly tuition is less the next month.

When my dd moved to team, I had just paid for the next session of pre-team, which is set up more like a rec class, in sessions and they just took from that amount monthly until I owed and then started charging me. But, that is a club thing, not a booster club thing.

Good luck, I wish I could have been more help :)
 
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