Are Girl Scout Cookies Tax-Deductible? It Depends.

March 17, 2007

I’ve had a lot of people asking if the purchase of girl scout cookies is a valid tax deduction. I consulted my tax friend and he pointed me the answer on the Girl Scouts website.

Basically, if you take posession of the cookies then you can’t write off the purchase because you received something in return for your money. If the Girl Scouts keep the cookies, I don’t know how often this happens, then the money you spend is tax-deductible. The information from the Girl Scout website is below.

Q: Is the purchase of Girl Scout Cookies tax-deductible?

A: No and Yes.

No
If the customer keeps the cookies. Individuals who buy Girl Scout Cookies and take the cookies home, or consume them, have purchased a product at a fair market value. For this reason, no part of the price of a box of Girl Scout Cookies used in this way is tax-deductible.

Yes
If the customer leaves the cookies with Girl Scouts. Many Girl Scouts ask customers to pay for one or more boxes of cookies for use in their community service project, for example, collecting for a food pantry. The customers not receiving any Girl Scout Cookies do not benefit directly from paying for them. Those individuals may treat the purchase price of the donated cookies as a charitable contribution.

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Ben

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Ben
Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to Are Girl Scout Cookies Tax-Deductible? It Depends.

  • Sharon

    There was a time where you could deduct a portion of the price of GS cookies, the amount that exceeded the fair market value of the cookies. the Girl Scouts even told you what that difference was. Only about 50 cents was deductible, but that was OK. I don’t know what happened to that practice.

  • Cathy

    They amount given to the troop by the Girl Scouts should be what you can deduct. The cookies do not “cost” 3.50 a box. The difference should be your deduction.

  • Henry @ Binary Dollar

    That is SOOOO weak. I was so excited to buy a truck ton of coookies.

  • jim

    If you donate money to a charity, you have to deduct the value of that contribution by the value of what you get back, in this case the GS are saying the value of the cookies is $4/box (or whatever you pay nowadays).

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