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Donate Your Wedding Dress for Tax Deduction

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Many couples were forced to postpone their wedding in 2020. With things opening back up you may be planning your wedding this summer or may have already had it. Weddings are expensive, so it’s unfortunate that they aren’t tax-deductible! But wait, though tax write-offs may not be top-of-mind when you are planning your wedding, with careful planning, there are some ways you may be able to garner a tax deduction as you prepare to head down the aisle. Here are some ideas:

  1. The church: If you are paying a ceremony fee, it may be tax-deductible. If not, ask whether the church waives ceremony fees for members who donate at a certain level. It may be worth upping your donations for the year to get a triple benefit: a fee waiver, a tax write-off, and a warm glow from donating to a good cause.
  2. The venue: If you are having your reception or getting married at a historical garden, museum or homestead, or even a state or national park, the fee you pay may be tax-deductible as a donation. Check with the site representative for more details.
  3. Flowers: Once your wedding is over, have a friend take the flowers to a homeless shelter, women’s center, or similar non-profit organization. Not only will you have done a good deed, but with a receipt, you’ll be able to take a tax deduction for the value of the items donated.
  4. The gown: Donate your wedding gown to a non-profit organization such as Making Memories or Brides Against Breast Cancer, and you’ll help others enjoy their special day in style. The same goes for the flower girl and bridesmaid dresses, as well as candles and other decorations that won’t spoil.
  5. The food: Thanks to the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act you may be able to donate the leftovers. Ask the caterer to package the leftovers and then you or a designated person from your team can drop them off at an IRS recognized non-profit organization that feeds others in need. The organization will give you a donation letter that you can use as proof of charitable contribution.
  6. Wedding favors: Instead of soon-forgotten trinkets, make a donation to a charity on behalf of everyone at your wedding as a “thank you” for them being a part of your special day. You’ll help others while garnering yourself a tax deduction! You might even let your wedding party choose the charities they treasure.
  7. Gift registry: Along with a traditional gift wish list, you can create a charity registry through My Registry and encourage guests to donate to your favorite cause. Donations are tax-deductible so your guests can feel good while giving back and celebrating you at the same time.

Keep in mind that in order to claim a tax deduction for charitable donations, you have to donate to a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization and typically you have to have enough tax deductions to itemize your deductions. Under the CARES Act there is the addition of a new charitable deduction up to $300 on your 2020 taxes for your cash donations made to a 501(c)(3) organization even if you don’t itemize your deductions. Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act passed in December, you can deduct up to $300 in cash donations for tax year 2021 (the taxes you file in 2022) if you claim the standard deduction and you are single and up to $600 in cash donations if you are married filing a joint return.

Be sure to document your donations with receipts and contracts, so you’ll have the documents available at tax time. Then you can claim your tax deductions, boost your tax refund, and have extra funds to toast your wedded bliss. TurboTax ItsDeductible will help you accurately value and track your donations year-round and then the information can easily transfer to your TurboTax return.

Don’t worry about knowing these tax rules. TurboTax asks you simple questions about you and gives you the tax deductions and credits you’re eligible for based on your answers. If you have questions, you can connect live via one-way video to a TurboTax Live tax expert with an average 12 years experience to get your tax questions answered. TurboTax Live tax experts are available in English and Spanish and can also review, sign, and file your tax return or you can fully hand off your taxes to them.

If you have multiple weddings to attend this summer Mint shares some great ways to budget for wedding season so you can attend every event.

Comments (11) Leave your comment

  1. Hi Lisa,
    The venue we are having our wedding at is a historic building that is being restored in the community. Our intent of having our wedding there is to support it’s rehabilitation and the community. The organization we write the check to is a 501c3. Would this be deductible? thanks!

  2. The groom called off the wedding two days prior to the wedding. all of our payments were non-refundable. Can I claim the wedding expenses as a loss on my taxes?


  3. What form of receipt can be collected if you donate your food to a shelter and flowers to a retirement home? How do you prove the worth and the acceptance of said items?

    1. I donated my flowers to both nursing homes my grandmothers were at. I was informed after I dropped the arrangements off that since they are not a nonprofit organization they could not give me a donation letter for tax purposes. Facility must be nonprofit for tax deduction!

  4. How do you determine if payment to a church for a wedding as well as a gift payment to the priest and servers is tax deductible.

    1. Hi Dave,
      You would only be able to deduct it if the church gave you an acknowledgement noting that your payment to the church and payment to the priest was a charitable contribution.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  5. What kind of deduction is the one for historical places? I’ve searched the site and cannot find info. My wedding was booked at a venue listed on the National list of Historical Places. I don’t know if it qualifies but its worth a shot. Thanks


    1. Hi Schuyler,
      Unfortunately, you would not be able to take this as a deduction. There are charitable deductions for donations to maintain Historical buildings, however whether something is deductible as a charitable contribution is based on your intent. You have to make the donation with the intent to preserve the Historical building. It cannot be a result of something else.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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