Important Notice: A relevant IRS tax ruling has been brought to our attention, and an updated version of this article will be issued shortly. Consult your tax professional for details until then
The following applies to all Civil War Reenactors and other Living Historians who perform their impressions as part of a 501c3 non-profit educational corporation.
Report of the National Civil War Association Treasurer: Tax Deductibility Guide
By Andrew M. Crockett, NCWA Treasurer
All information presented below is summarized from IRS Publication 526; “Charitable Contributions”.
If you itemize your deductions on your tax return using Form 1040, Schedule A, then all expenses related to re-enacting as a part of a qualified 501(c)3 non-profit educational corporation with an EIN Tax ID Number are tax deductible, so long as the rules outlined below are followed.
Your membership dues are FULLY DEDUCTIBLE.
Donations of Money
Donations of money are FULLY DEDUCTIBLE.
The amount paid for raffle tickets purchased from a 501c3 is NOT tax-deductible.
The mileage you travel to and from Living History events and meetings is deductible at $0.14/mile – be sure to keep records of your travels as proof for this deductibility requirement. Example: Billy Yank drove 1,200 miles to NCWA related business and events in 2014 and itemizes deductions on his Form 1040 Schedule A; therefore Billy Yank can deduct $168.00 in qualified non-profit travel expenses.
Expenses you make that aide in your period impression (uniforms, tents, chairs, kit, guns, black powder, etc.) are FULLY DEDUCTIBLE.
Expensive items purchased to aide in your period impression (expensive guns, cannons, trailers, etc.) must be amortized over a period of years (consult your accountant for assistance on this).
Quoted from Page 7 of IRS Pub 526: “You cannot deduct… the cost of meals you eat while performing services for a qualified organization, unless it is necessary for you to be away from home overnight while performing the services.” Therefore, meals you eat when attending a weekend-long re-enactment or living history event are fully tax-deductible. Note: Meals should not be “lavish or extravagant” or the deduction will be disallowed.
Same treatment as for food, except that the drinks consumed must be done so responsibly (for example, they should be consumed with a meal, not for the purpose of getting drunk), and not be “lavish or extravagant” in nature, otherwise the deduction will be disallowed.