do gooder
Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/15/2011 10:30PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Exactly as the subject says.
Enopac
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 9:54AM - in reply to do gooder Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Try it. What can they do, thow you in jail?


My accountant listed the value of a couple of Dinner For Two coupons and a microwave from a Turkey Trot as income from running and now deducts race fees, travel to and hotels at races,kit and shoes as expenses of my pro career. He lists finisher medals as awards of designer jewelry and values them as misc under $50 prizes. He is a very crafty Irishman. His name is Sean O'Malley and works alone but the firm name is Burger, Baumblum, Stein and O'Malley.
kudzurunner
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 10:30AM - in reply to do gooder Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
This is actually a great question. I suspect that the truth is: You can write off some % of the entry fee for the races that specifically ID themselves as contributing some portion of the proceeds to a charity--i.e., the Susan Komen races, or "Run for Pancreatic Cancer" or "Run for XXXXX Hospital."

Remember: not every race is a charity race, and even with charity races that have inflated prices, some portion of the entry fee is surely going towards "normal," non-charity expenses that are part of putting on a road race.

When I gave $125 to WBGO-FM last year as part of a fund drive, a significant portion of that, but NOT all of it, was tax-deductable. They sent me a letter to that effect, acknowledging the portion that was tax-deductable.

If you run a lot of races, and if a significant number of them are charity races with inflated entry fees (i.e., $30 for a 5K), I would keep duplicate entry blanks, and I would probably claim 60-75% of the entry fee as a charitable contribution. It's a lot of work, but if you're running, say, 30 charity races a year at $30 a pop, and if you claim $20 on each race, that's $600 in the "charitable contribution" column.

So no: you're not crazy for asking the question. In fact, you should contact somebody at the Susan R. Komen foundation and ask this question. Is some % of the race fee given directly to the foundation, as opposed to covering actual race expenses?
Saucy Jack
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 11:00AM - in reply to Enopac Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You can't deduct more than your income (show a loss) for consecutive years though, because then you do not have a business, you have a hobby. You can still deduct a certain amount of expenses for a hobby, but not more than your income from that hobby.

My guess is anyone asking that question on the letsrun message board, probably doesn't make enough to garnish much attention from the IRS either way, so i say go for it.
See Pea Ehhh
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 11:13AM - in reply to Saucy Jack Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
He's talking about Sch A deductions, not Sch C.
well.....
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 11:36AM - in reply to do gooder Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
If you're a pro, you can write off expenses against your race winnings.

If you're not a pro, and the race is for charity, you'd be able to write off the cost that exceeds the "market value" of the race. The challenge here is that races are often run by for-profit companies, so the market value of a race is pretty well established, and it's as high or higher than most entry fees.
Keith Stone
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 11:44AM - in reply to do gooder Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Depends on the race of course. Some charities put on their web site what portion of the entry fees count as charity. Obviously if it's a race that openly solicits for donations then the donation portion is good IF you are the one making it. If you're doing an event where you collect pledges the maker of the pledge gets to count the donation, not you.

I've directed quite a few races associated with charities so the question came up often. In general if the even doesn't publicize the charitable portion you're out of luck, but it's worth asking in case they're simple poorly organized.

The portion of the fee that goes towards goods and services isn't deductible. You're receiving something of value, not making a donation.

Many charity events set the entry fee to cover organizational expenses (insurance, scoring, shirts, awards, permits, etc) and count on sponsorship or non-registration donations to make the money. I've worked on several that never expected the race itself to make a dime, but counted on the publicity of the event to bring in post-event dollars. It seemed to work for them, but never the less no portion of the race fee was counted as a donation.

Now unless you're doing a s**tload of charity races you're not doing to get a deduction worth much. If you're trying to eke out that last tax dime it would be worth the time to check the various event web sites for their tax deduction guidelines. Alternatively the odds of getting auditing over a bunch of $25 entry fees likely isn't big.
The Smartest Lets Run Poster
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 11:46AM - in reply to do gooder Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You can write off anything you want. If audited you will only be allowed the part that goes to the charity. So, if you paid $750 for a charity slot at St. George and the normal entry fee is $100, you will be allowed a $650 deduction. If you are trying to write off 35 bucks for a local Salvation Army Turkey Trot then that will not be allowed.

Drink Pabst and keep it on the crete.
26mi235
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 12:10PM - in reply to Enopac Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You have to make money at least several years out of five or it is considered a hobby. As far as deductions go, you generally have to trim out the amount of goods and services you receive. For instance, a fundraising dinner that cost $100 might have a 'value' of $40 so you can claim the $60.

In general, meals are only partially deductible.
luv2run
RE: Can I write off my road race entries as donations to charity when filing my tax return? 4/16/2011 3:42PM - in reply to do gooder Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Highly unlikely.

How much difference do you think it would make anyway?