I understand that any member of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation who asks the treasurer to see the financial data must be presented with it, but I am wondering if there is a deadline to provide it? We have a president/treasurer who has been refusing to give access to our financial records for quite some time. She has even gone so far as to remove a third signer from the bank account upon discovering that the third signer was looking at the information, has instructed the people in charge of our 'spirit store' (we're a parent organization at a school) not to give information to anyone, and has changed email and Paypal passwords in order to lock people out. There are several cash deposits that we have no visibility of at this point. How much time does she have between when someone asks in writing for the information and the time that she must provide it?
This is a question of state law for all nonprofit corporations without regard to their tax status. Normally a member, i.e. a person with voting and other rights in the organization, like a shareholder of a business, has the right to review the books and records for “a proper corporate purpose.” Some states will have a time limit within which to produce those records set out in the nonprofit corporation statute. In Pennsylvania, for example, the officers have a period of five business days within which to respond to the request or the member may go to court to seek an order to compel inspection. Other jurisdictions will undoubtedly have other time limitations, or if not, will require production within a reasonable time. Several months delay would not be a reasonable time.
In your case, the fact that the Treasurer has taken specific steps to prevent disclosure of the records suggests that it would be a proper corporate purpose to look to see if there has been mismanagement, or worse.
Thank you so much.
Add new comment