Friday, December 29, 2006

charity: a whale of a tax deduction

I was trying to figure out whether the raffle tickets, auctions, and dinners we attended "for charity" are in fact tax-deductible. Here's what the IRS says:

Expenses of Whaling Captains

Beginning in 2005, you may be able to deduct as a charitable contribution the reasonable and necessary whaling expenses paid during the year in carrying out sanctioned whaling activities. The deduction is limited to $10,000 a year.
To claim the deduction, you must be recognized by the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission as a whaling captain charged with the responsibility of maintaining and carrying out sanctioned whaling activities
Damn Captain Ahab always getting a break from the feds!

The IRS actually does a good job of saying, basically, "No". Since I got something in exchange, the quid pro quo means it's not deductible. Unless I can prove that the raffle prizes/auction stuff/dinner food was only worth $three-fiddy (South Park). So many people must cheat at this on their taxes—the check is made out to a charitable cause, so it must be deductible.

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