deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

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drbones2nd
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deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by drbones2nd » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:34 am

Often wondered if our costume expenses woukd be tax deductible since the 501st troops for charity. Considering some of the members have spent thousands of dollars, it would help off ser some of the costs. Not sure if this comes up a lot but i am new to all of this.
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Lumpy
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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Lumpy » Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:39 am

This has been brought up several times and the answer is not really - no.

The 501st is not a charity group. We are a volunteer costume group that sometimes appear at events where money is raised for a charity.

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Terrell78 » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:06 pm

Lumpy is correct. The 501st and Rebel Legions are costuming clubs with no secondary mission, a side benefit of the club that is the charity work we do as a group. It's totally possible for a member to troop regularly and never help a charity depending on the events you do.

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Flash » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:14 pm

There are a lot of different opinions on this. I asked my accountant and he said you can even deduct your mileage for this. The thing for me is, I don't do this just to save money on taxes. But if the deduction is legal, you might as well take it.

In other words "you" as an individual can do this for any event that you attend that you are volunteering for. Not because you are a 501st member. But because you are a volunteer. The event existed and there would be plenty of photos proving you attended if you ever get audited and have to explain it.

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Lumpy » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:28 pm

The other part of it gets down to percentages as well.

As a teacher, I can deduct the cost of a new computer - but only for the percentage of use on that computer that is work related.
It's the same thing IF you chose to try and deduct milage - if it's not a charity event, don't even think about it.

But like has been said, we normally just don't because that's not what we're about. Legally and taxwise - the 501st doesn't even exist. We are not a charity group. We are not a "non-profit" organization. We're nothing - but a bunch of Star Wars geeks who found a way to take something they love, have some fun with it and do some good for people who need it.

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by drbones2nd » Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:41 pm

I appreciate all the replies. Was more curious than anything. I know the purpose of joining is not financial right offs, but if your able to save some money legally, why not. Even with a tax deduction, it still costs money so you gotta be doing this because we love it, not because its a right off. I own a couple different business's, and will always look for ways to save a little money, hobby or not.

For now, I will leave it up to my accountant to let me know if its too much of a gray area.

Thanks again,

Now I just got to get my vader costume completed and there will be balance back in the force. :D
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Kal
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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Kal » Wed Sep 07, 2011 5:05 pm

Terrell78 wrote:Lumpy is correct. The 501st and Rebel Legions are costuming clubs with no secondary mission, a side benefit of the club that is the charity work we do as a group. It's totally possible for a member to troop regularly and never help a charity depending on the events you do.

Yep, Terrell is dead balls spot on. We are NOT a charity group. We ARE a costuming club.
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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Crimson » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:23 am

What it ultimately comes down to (and since it's been brought up a couple of times, I'll add it to the FAQ) is that because we don't officially exist and that our existence is essentially at the pleasure of LucasFilm, any attempts to work in tax deductions is solely up to the individual.

Neither the 501st nor Rebel Legions will support it and responsibility for any audit or scrutiny that may (or may not) come down from the IRS or state treasuries belongs entirely to the person. Simply, you're on your own if you try it. Some elsewhere in the Legion have tried it and to me, that just means the IRS hasn't asked them any questions about it.... yet.

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Flash » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:43 am

That would be great to put in the FAQ. It really is up to the individual and their accountant when it comes down to it.

But people should at least ask their accountants. Like I said before, you have to approach this as an individual keeping the word "You" and "501st" separate.

For those that volunteer their time. This goes to any joe shmoe that volunteers their body. (has nothing to do with 501st)

Here is a list of deductions for "volunteers" non profit events.
Out-of-Pocket Expenses
You can also deduct expenses for doing volunteer work for a qualified organization.

You can deduct:

Mileage expenses if you use your car while doing volunteer work for a hospital or school
Mileage expenses for miles you drive to and from a charity to drop-off donated goods
Parking fees, tolls, or public transportation expenses while doing volunteer work or dropping off donated goods


The mileage rate for 2010 is 14 cents a mile.

You can also deduct the cost and care of a special uniform you're required to wear while performing services for the organization. Ex: If you're a scoutmaster, you can deduct:

Cost and upkeep of your scout uniform and associated items needed
Materials and supplies you pay for and use your volunteer efforts, like stationery and stamps


You can't write off the value of services or time you donate. Ex: If you're a carpenter who usually charges $45 an hour, and you spend 20 hours helping to build a wing on your church, you can't deduct $900 – or any other amount – for your time. Under the tax law, only a completed transfer of money or a full interest in property qualifies for the deduction.

If you're a foster parent, you can deduct as a charitable donation some of the cost of providing for your foster children. You can deduct the cost that's more than the reimbursement you receive – if you aren't in the trade or business or providing foster care.

You can also earn a charitable deduction if a student lives in your home under a program sponsored by a qualified organization. To qualify for this deduction, the student:

Can be American or foreign
Must be a full-time elementary or high school student


You can deduct up to $50 a month of what you spend for the student, including the cost of:

Books
Tuition
Food
Clothing
Entertainment

I'm not trying to get into a debate with any of you guys. But I don't think it is fair to tell people automatically they "cannot" when they "can", and can do it legally if done properly.

I want to make it clear that I realize that the 501st is not any type of non-profit or fundraising organization. If you and your accountant decide you may take these deductions. It must be done as an "individual"

Maybe the answer under FAQ could be listed as something similar to "the 501st is not a non-profit of fundraising organization, consult your tax advisor for any questions." This way we are not telling them they can or cannot deduct.

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Crimson » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:48 am

Mike, I put up a basic text in the FAQ. When you have a minute, could you give it a once-over and suggest any changes or corrections?

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Flash » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:05 am

I think what you listed is fine. Although it is worded in a way to sway people from doing it, That's OK. Sometimes I think it would be better if we just leave the question unanswered.

But your answer leads to the safest conclusion so you can't go wrong there. :thumbs: Better to take the safe route.

I would hate for a law to change (where volunteers cannot deduct anything) and for someone to point fingers. Especially at me :lol:

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Re: deduct costs of our costumes on taxes?

Post by Titus3643 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:23 pm

they all said it right above my mum does taxes and she poked around and came up with the same conclusions. although i've had some luck getting discounts and even free stuff a jo'anns from time to time :thumbs:
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