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Rental owners: Earn deductions for ‘charitable’ use

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in Small Business Tax

If you own a vacation home or a boat, you may not be using it as much now that the summer is over.

Strategy: Donate the use of your house or boat to a charity. While you can't deduct the value of the use of the property, you can write off the out-of-pocket expenses directly attributable to the charity's use, including operating and maintenance costs and repairs.

For instance, say that you donate the use of your boat to a local religious group so it can offer a prize in a raffle. The winner is allowed to use the boat for fishing trips for a week. In that case, you are allowed to deduct the cost of the fuel and other incidentals related to the raffle winner's use.

Tip: Deductions for rental property are generally limited to the amount of rental income if your annual personal use exceeds the greater of 14 days or 10 percent of the total days the place is rented. Use by a charity counts as "personal use" for this purpose.

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