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Donating use of vacation home

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in Small Business Tax,Small Business Tax Deduction Strategies

Q. I own a vacation home at the beach. If I donate the use of the place to a church — maybe to be used in a raffle — can I deduct the contribution’s value? J.H., Bernardsville, N.J.

A. No. If you donate the use of your personal property, such as a vacation home, to a charity at a minimal charge or no charge at all, you can’t claim a charitable deduction. But you can deduct operating expenses, maintenance and repairs relating to the charity’s use of the property. Example: If you hire a cleaning service after the raffle winners have spent a week at the place, the cost is deductible. Tip: If you rent your vacation home when you’re not using it personally, the charity’s use of the home is considered “personal use” that could affect rental deductions. This is a complex area of the law, so consult with your tax pro.

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