The summer wedding season is soon upon us and while planning a wedding is exciting, it is expensive. Between the flowers, the dress the food and alcohol, weddings this day can cost you a pretty penny, the average wedding these days can costs an upwards of $30,000. However, even though maximizing your tax deductions might not be top-of-mind during planning, if you plan accordingly you can deduct certain wedding related expenses. If you are planning a wedding for 2017 talk with your tax consultant (aka tax guru) to see what you may be able to deduct. I am kicking myself that I didn’t think about some of these until after our wedding and after our taxes were done. I could have taken advantage of a number of these things just by asking up front. Here are a few ideas to get you excited about wedding related tax deductions.
If you are paying a fee for the ceremony, it may be tax deductible if it is considered a charitable donation. If it is not ask the church to wave the fee for a donation. As long as the church meets the requirements for a tax-exempt organization, the donation should be deducible. If you tip an individual, those will not qualify for tax exemption.
Similar to the church, if you hold the reception at a non-profit venue, i.e. a museum, a national park or historical site, those fees you pay may be eligible to be deducted as a charitable donation. Just like the church, venues will have to qualify for tax-exempt status. So check with your venue and tax guru to see if you can deduct these expenses.
Donate those candles, vase and other decorations that would otherwise clutter your basement for the next few years. Donation sites, like Goodwill or the Salvation Army will take all of that great stuff giving you a chance to write it off. This means you will get to pocket a little more cash when it comes to tax time. Make sure to get a receipt and to itemize what you donated so you can accurately determine what deductions to make. Goodwill had a great site to help you appropriately itemize and calculate the value of your donation with the Detailed Donation Receipt.
Yes, your flowers can be donated to a local charity. You don’t need to hold on to 40 floral centerpieces, trust me no one needs that many flowers, so if your family and friends are not taking, think about coordinating with a non-profit in your area like a women’s shelter. Not only will your exceptional taste live on for others to enjoy but you get another deduction to claim on your taxes.
Food is one of the biggest expenses when planning a wedding, I should know I was shocked by our catering bill. Talk with local soup kitchens or homeless shelters to see if they will take the leftover food. This will take some coordination both on the part of the charity and the caterer, because you will want to get approval and follow proper food handling/storage rules.
Wedding Dress and Accessories
This is a big one, and a little hard for some brides to stomach. Your wedding dress is one of those big deal items for your wedding and for most women it is hard to let go of that item. Unless you are going to pass it down to your children, you may want to consider donating your dress and other wedding accessories. There are amazing charity’s that will take gently used dresses and resell them. They donate the proceeds to charitable causes so you can feel good about your donation. If your bridesmaids are not planning to wear their dresses again, similar companies will take those as well as veils, tiaras, shoes and hair pieces.
We know wedding are expensive, but these few items can add up and donating them could turn into a sizeable tax deduction which could in turn provide you a larger tax rebate at tax time. Remember to make sure you get the proper documentation and know what you can and cannot deduct, your tax guru should be able to help. If you are more of a DIY tax person, search the IRS website to determine what you need to claim the deduction.