5 Wedding Expenses That Are Tax Deductible
Who's filing their first tax return as newlyweds? While doing your taxes isn't always the most enjoyable task, the only way around it is through it. And we have some good news that will definitely help you get through it: Wedding expenses aren't just worth it for a beautiful ceremony and awesome reception—some of those expenses might actually be tax deductible. If you set up a charity registry, donated your centerpieces or paid fees for a nonprofit venue, for example, your good deeds could be rewarded. What goes around, comes around, right?
Whether you're putting together your 2017 tax return or planning your upcoming wedding (which means you're planning way ahead for next year's tax season, so props to you), here are some wedding costs and donations you can potentially write off for taxes.
1. If you have a charity registry.
By linking your wedding registry to a charity through The Knot Gifts Back your chosen organization will receive a donation for every wedding gift your guests purchase—or you could ask for donations to a specific cause in lieu of all gifts. We work with a national nonprofit organization called Just Give to pre-screen affiliate charities and make sure donations reach your chosen organization, making you potentially eligible to receive charitable deductions.
Need philanthropy ideas? Look into VOW, a global campaign devoted to raising money for the Girls First Fund to end child marriage at the community level. Every year, 12 million girls are married before turning 18, robbing them of their education and putting them at risk for violence and poverty. VOW helps fund local organizations advocating girls' rights and standing up against child marriage. See how easy it is to link VOW to your retail registry though The Knot Gifts Back here.
2. If you donate your wedding dress.
Your wedding dress can do some good beyond making you feel magical on your wedding own day. Once you've worn your gown, pay it forward and donate your dress to one of the philanthropies that collect and distribute gently used gowns for those in need.
3. If you donate to your ceremony and/or reception venue.
If you say "I do" in a house of worship, your ceremony fee or suggested donation may be tax deductible—your site just needs to meet the specifications for a tax-exempt organization. Some houses of worship, like your church, will waive a ceremony fee if you're a member of the institution who donates a certain amount throughout the year. Feel free to talk to your officiant or the site manager about your fee or donation options.
Otherwise, if you host your wedding (either the ceremony, reception or both) at a nonprofit venue—such as an historic building, garden, museum, or national or state park—your site fees could be written off as deductible donations.
4. If you donate your wedding flowers (or other décor).
The one sad part about wedding flowers is their short shelf life—so why not try to make their cheer last a little longer? When the party's over, see if your planner or a loved one can bring your blooms (think: bouquets and table arrangements) to a local homeless shelter, nursing home or hospital, or donate through a third-party organization like Repeat Roses. And if you don't need to return centerpieces, unused candles or other décor to your florist, planner or rental company, consider donating those too. Just remember, the organization you contribute to must be a nonprofit to receive tax breaks.
5. If you donate extra food.
Instead of throwing away leftover wedding food, donate it to a nearby homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Talk to your caterer about connecting with an organization that will accept your leftovers—often those that do accept perishable goods need to be consulted beforehand and give your contribution a stamp of approval.
Most importantly, in order to qualify for charitable rebates, you'll need to keep meticulous track of your receipts and contracts, which will help you take deductions for the value of items donated.