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Getting Married? Deduct Your Wedding

DIt's that time of year... Wedding season. We have several clients who will be taking the plunge this month or have children saying "I do". I bet they never thought they could possibly write-off some of the costs of the wedding!

Now, don't think you can invite all of your business contacts and turn your wedding into a business-related entertainment expense. That is not happening. No matter how you slice the cake, you're wedding is personal entertainment and you cannot deduct personal expenses.

However, you may be able to deduct some of the costs through charitable contributions.... Here's how:

The Ceremony
If you have a church wedding, you're payment to the church could be considered a donation. The church must provide you with a donation recognition letter for all or part of the facility expense.

The Reception
If you have your reception at a museum, historic landmark or nature reserve, it is often a tax deduction for the fee you pay to the historic society or 501(c)(3) non-profit that owns the reception facility. The rental fees benefits the upkeep of the property and often considered a donation.

The Dinner
Arrange with a food rescue program to pick up leftovers after the reception. The charity can provide you with a donation receipt for the value of the food you provide. However, most charities won't take open food, or food that has been heated and then refrigerated. If you're hoping to deduct some of the food and drink expense, only put out food as needed for guests, and store the rest in unopened containers or refrigerated. If you're serving a sit-down dinner, this option probably won't work for you.

Flowers & Favors
Donate flower arrangements to a nursing home or hospital. They will brighten someone's day and with the correct documentation, provide a tax deduction.

Instead of wedding favors, a donation can be made to a qualified charity; some organizations even provide cards to let your guests know that you made a donation in their honor. Donations people make in your name as a gift to you cannot be deducted on your taxes.

The Dress
After the wedding, donate the wedding dress to a qualified charity. There are a few organizations that will take gently used wedding dresses and refurbish them and re-sell them, using the profit for great causes. Its' used retail value will be a tax deduction.

Also, have the bridesmaid's get in on the action. Bridesmaid's dresses, purses and shoes can be donated to be used by underprivileged girls as prom dresses.

The Honeymoon
Last week's email, "Turn Your Summer Vacation into a Tax Deduction", could also be applied to your honeymoon. However, I'd recommend taking a break from it all and spending some quality time with your new spouse!

Documentation
As always, make sure you keep receipts and documentation for all items donated. Also, if the value of the items you've donated is more than $5,000 you must get an appraisal.

Like most deductions, this one gets tricky. Don't throw up red flags to the IRS, give us a call before attempting to write-off your wedding!

The Millennial Generation
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