Charitable Deductions

Richard Streitfeld – Buddhist Mensch

Reprinted with permission of
Q: My body was frozen. Can it be a charitable contribution?
– Bed Williams, Baseball star
A: If philanthropist Andrew Canteloupe  buys your corpse, sells it at Sotheby’s and then donates the proceeds, sure–he can deduct his donation as long as he itemizes deductions(Schedule A) and the donation does not exceed 50% of his adjusted gross income. If it manages  to fetch $250 or more, he should hold onto the expected acknowledgement from the charity.
If you just donate the specimen as is, say to a baseball-affiliated non-profit, then you need a qualified appraisal if you are claiming $5,000 or more when you itemize.

Q: I run errands for my church and sponsor barbecue luncheons.What’s deductible?
– Joan Ark, France
A: Joanie can deduct .14 (!) per mile for the services she uses her car to provide, plus out of pocket costs like steaks and firewood for the luncheon.  Her (eternal) volunteer time is notdeductible.

Q: We donate a gazillion trillion dollars to
political candidates. Not deductible???
– The Coke Sisters
A: No, political donations at any level are not deductible. Legal forms of purchasing candidates abound.

Q: I had this foster kid named ET for a few years. Got stipend from state, but did not cover all of our expenses. Possible?
– Steven Shpeelberg, Hollywood

A: You may deduct the documented excess as a charitable contribution.

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