Monday, April 25, 2016

I know you're not the IRS, but can you give me a refund anyway?

I have to wonder if people ask for itemized receipts any more.   I normally do but I am, as we have established, old school.    However, I, too, am getting numbed to this.  I don't ask for my daughter's school to provide me with an itemized list for what her tuition pays for.  Nor do I ask at the end of the year if they didn't spend any of my money and can I have the remaining part back.  You pay the tuition and the money goes into a black hole.  You assume they spent all your money and maybe more from generous donors, but you don't know. 

Club volleyball is sort of like that.  With a number of clubs you pay your money and that is it.  You don't see an itemized bill for how your money was spent or, with one club, the itemized bill was actually laughable because the amount the club said the parents spent was within a couple of pennies of the amount the parents paid.  Don't we all wish that we could keep our checkbooks that balanced!

Some clubs actually do an itemized receipt, some more itemized than others.  Those clubs generally give the parents some sort of refund.   For the last 4 years I have coached I gave my teams an itemized bill at the end of the season...along with a refund.   Last year our two teams paid in $350 and $300 which we collected in three and two installments, respectively.    One team got a $103 refund per player at the end of the year and the other team, for players who already had their uniforms, got an $83 refund and this was all detailed in a itemized spreadsheet e-mailed to each parent. 

I think clubs owe parents an itemized bill at the end of the season.  Sure, like the one club I talked about above, the math could be totally laughable, but at least the parents would have something to talk about.  In the case I mentioned, the parents laughed all the way to playing for another club  the next season once they saw the itemization.  Without an itemized bill how do you know how your money was spent?

Sometimes I think clubs just forget that every dollar is important to families.    Providing an itemized expense report to each parent is a good way to check to see how much money was spent to see if there is money that should be refunded to parents.  Yes, it is a pain in the rear end for the club.  However, at least one of the biggest (and best) clubs in our region does these spreadsheets and gives a refund to parents if one is owed.   When you are paying a lot of your hard-earned money for your child to play club volleyball, I think that this is much appreciated by parents.

So the question of the day is: If your club didn't give you an itemized bill (and likely a refund) why not?

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