Deductions for donations are everyone's best friends at tax time. For example, if you give an item to a charity to raffle off as a fundraiser, you can generally write off up to its fair market value on your tax return if you have the receipt. However, when it comes to items like raffle tickets you purchased, the Internal Revenue Service isn't so accommodating.
No Deduction Deal
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Even if you have no interest in the prizes and just want to support a nonprofit cause, you're not allowed to deduct the cost of raffle tickets. According to Internal Revenue Service Publication 526, raffle, bingo or lottery costs can't be written off as charitable deductions, regardless of whether you win any prizes in the drawing or not. You also can't ask for the deduction if you give the tickets away.