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I bought two tickets to a lecture given at a nonprofit botanical garden, with all proceeds going to the garden. Donations made directly to the garden are deductible. Since I attended the lecture, I got value for my ticket purchase and would not deduct that. But DW was unable to attend and thus got no value from the cost of her ticket. Can that ticket purchase be considered a straight donation to the garden and thus deductible?

--fleg
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I bought two tickets to a lecture given at a nonprofit botanical garden, with all proceeds going to the garden. Donations made directly to the garden are deductible. Since I attended the lecture, I got value for my ticket purchase and would not deduct that. But DW was unable to attend and thus got no value from the cost of her ticket. Can that ticket purchase be considered a straight donation to the garden and thus deductible?


I'll let the pros chime in, but it sounds to me that your wife did receive something of value in return for the cost of the ticket; but for whatever reason she was unable to benefit from that value. Analogous to them giving you a toaster in return for the cost of the ticket; even if you didn't want and never used the toaster, you still received something of value.
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I bought two tickets to a lecture given at a nonprofit botanical garden, with all proceeds going to the garden. Donations made directly to the garden are deductible. Since I attended the lecture, I got value for my ticket purchase and would not deduct that. But DW was unable to attend and thus got no value from the cost of her ticket. Can that ticket purchase be considered a straight donation to the garden and thus deductible?

If the ticket stated that only so much is a contribution and so much is the value of the lecture, then I would only deduct the identified charitable amount. While you might be able to deduct the unused goods and services value because DW didn't attend, the burden of proof would be on you to show that she didn't attend and didn't give the ticket to someone else to use.

Ira
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I bought two tickets to a lecture given at a nonprofit botanical garden, with all proceeds going to the garden. Donations made directly to the garden are deductible. Since I attended the lecture, I got value for my ticket purchase and would not deduct that. But DW was unable to attend and thus got no value from the cost of her ticket. Can that ticket purchase be considered a straight donation to the garden and thus deductible?

Carnegie Hall has a system in place for handling that. I have a series ticket and once I could not go to one of the performances. I called them before the concert in question (about two hours before), and told them. That permitted them to sell it to someone else, and they sent me a receipt for the charitable contribution. (Carnegie Hall is 501(c)(3).)

"Donate Your Tickets
If you are unable to use your tickets to a Carnegie Hall event, we will gratefully accept them as a tax-deductible contribution. Call CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 for more information, or return your tickets to the Box Office. You can make this tax-deductible donation anytime up to two hours before the show."
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the burden of proof would be on you to show that she didn't attend and didn't give the ticket to someone else to use.

I can get sworn statements that she wasn't there from two friends who attended . As for proving that none of the other attendees used her ticket, I don't think the tax savings from the deduction would cover the costs of doing that.;)

--fleg
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