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Last month I joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While at the membership desk, I also paid for a regular admission for two friends with me that day. Admission "fee" is normally $20/person, but a sign above the ticket counter says it's a "suggested donation" of $20. There were times, before I was a member, when I would run into the museum to see one work of art or one wing for 30 minutes, and would only pay about $3-$5. So the $20 really is just a suggestion.

Anyway, I got a letter from the Met saying that most (but not all) of my membership fee was tax deductible. Fine. But I also got ANOTHER letter saying that the $40 I paid for my two friends to join me that day was also (entirely) deductible.

I assume the Met is correct, that their entrance fee counts as a tax deductible donation. Does that mean I should get receipts for all the museums I go to that have suggested donations, and deduct these fees?

What about other museums (such as the Museum of Modern Art) where the entrance fee is truly a fee, as in it's $20 a person no matter what to get in? Is any of this fee deductible?

One reason I am surprised at this is that I've seen hundreds of people in line at the met to get in, and I've never seen anyone ask for a receipt. Or maybe a few have, and I haven't been paying attention.

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