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Eagle Project - Tax Deductible?

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  • Eagle Project - Tax Deductible?

    Is money that is given personally to a Scout for his Eagle project tax deductible for the donor?

    If it is given directly to the Scout and not run through either the CO or the non-profit the Scout is doing the project for, can the donor individual claim it with the IRS?

  • #2
    The donation cannot be made directly to the scout or the CO. It is to the benefiting organization. If they, the benefiting organization, are a non-profit and provide the donor with the proper tax information, they can deduct it from their taxes.


    • #3
      Are yeh asking because you're the donor?

      Generally speakin', the scout shouldn't be giving tax advice, eh? Whether or not to claim a deduction is the donor's choice and the donor's burden of justifyin' to the IRS.

      There are all kinds of ways of handlin' this if you're a knowledgeable adult workin' with the lad. A 501(c)(3) Chartered Organization certainly can accept the donation earmarked to a boy's project, and transfer it to the materials or work being done for an external organization consistent with its mission. The folks in the unit who act as agents for the CO in receiving such donations and making disbursements for its scouting program can (and should) be empowered to do that (i.e. troop treasurer, committee...).

      The benefiting agency if it is a 501(c)(3) can also acknowledge the gift toward the service being done for its programs.

      But unless the donation is greater than $250 in cash or cash equivalents, there's really nuthin' for the boy or either group to do besides write a thank you. Over $250, whichever agency chooses to should write a receipt acceptable to the IRS. Again, an authorized agent of either da CO or the benefiting agency can do that, based on the scout's record-keeping.



      • #4
        It was brought to my attention that one of our Scouts sent out letters requesting donations from individuals and some businesses.

        He did not show the letter to anyone in the troop ahead of time.
        However, he stated in the letter that all donations made for his Eagle Project would be tax deductible.

        One individual who received this letter came to me asking if it indeed was tax deductible. I was unsure of the correct answer.


        • #5
          Who cares? If it isn't tax deductible, is this individual not doing to donate?


          • #6
            I could see the possibility that a donation could be adjusted upwards if it is indeed tax deductible.



            • #7
              evmori -

              If I were a potential donor and it turned out that the Scout provided information on the deductibility of the donations that wasn't accurate, I'd probably question all the other information that the Scout provided.

              That's why I would care.


              • #8

                Assuming a Scout between the ages of 12 and 18 know anything about tax laws is absurd! Heck, most adults don't understand them!

                If the only reason someone is going to donate money is because it's a tax deduction is donating for the wrong reason.


                • #9
                  If someone tells me something that turns out to be factually incorrect, particularly on a legal or financial issue, I'm going to distrust other things that person tells me, at least for a while. That was my point.

                  I'm not saying that a Scout should be a tax law expert. I'm just saying that a Scout should make sure what he represents to the public is accurate. Part of the whole trustworthiness thing we do...


                  • #10
                    The scout provided inaccurate information in his letter about the deductibility of donations. Chances are he got that information from his parents or scout leaders who also were incorrect. I wouldn't hold it against the scout and question his trustworthiness.


                    • #11
                      I think you are making a big leap shortridge. I wouldn't question the trustworthiness of a Scout if he gave out incorrect tax deduction information. I would advise him to make sure the info was correct the next time & if I knew of a contact that could help him I would give it to him.


                      • #12
                        Yah, I reckon the lad was doing his best, eh?

                        And odds are he is right. Generally speakin', da rules for Eagle projects pretty much limit them to being done for a tax-exempt entity. While there are a few cases where the beneficiary isn't a charitable organization (one might consider doing something for a CO like da Elks who I believe are a (c)(7) not a (c)(3)), those are goin' to be fairly rare.

                        So don't beat on the poor lad too hard or too fast! He was probably right, and if he wasn't right it was an honest mistake made by most adult laymen. Chances are da donation amounts are so small and the nature of the thing so ambiguous that da average IRS auditor isn't even goin' to question it.

                        Eagle projects are a funny thing, eh? By and large, I think da intent of the donor is to support a boy in his Scouting activity, not to support the project beneficiary. So in most cases, I believe da most proper way to proceed is to treat such donations as scouting donations, which should be tax deductible.

                        (This message has been edited by Beavah)


                        • #13
                          " I believe da most proper way to proceed is to treat such donations as scouting donations, which should be tax deductible."
                          Sorry Beavah, while I'm not an expert on taxes and I haven't talked this one over with my accountant, my gut feeling tells me that what you posted isn't right.
                          I strongly urge anyone who is thinking of making a large enough donation to discuss this with their tax adviser as well as the CO of the unit to which they belong.

                          The Scout in this case does seem to have maybe overstated his case.
                          I would tend to think that this was just a genuine mistake on his part with no intent of doing any real harm or damage.
                          A lot would depend on who was benefiting from the project and whose name the donation was made to.
                          OJ did his project for the local YMCA.
                          The Troop he was in and the CO of the Troop did not in any way benefit from what he did.
                          The Troop is not listed as a charity, as the CO is a local Civic Society, I'm not sure what standing they have or don't have?
                          The YMCA is listed here in PA as a charity, so donations to the YMCA are deductible.
                          No one who donated to OJ's project gave enough to really make it worth while messing with all this stuff.
                          I think the people who are lightly to donate a lot will have "Their People" look into this sort of thing and make sure that they cover what needs to be covered -I know I would.
                          That's why I have my accountant.


                          • #14
                            Sorry Beavah, while I'm not an expert on taxes and I haven't talked this one over with my accountant, my gut feeling tells me that what you posted isn't right.

                            Which version of "right"?

                            What I posted in da last paragraph was my speculation over what is morally right and most honest, eh? The intent of the donor is usually to give to help a lad with his Scouting activity to earn Eagle Scout. That is a charitable purpose which is definitely within the intent of the law.

                            Can I imagine circumstances in which someone could argue that is technically improper? Yah, sure. I get paid to do that sometimes, eh? One might imagine a for-profit CO and a (c)(7) beneficiary and a donation greater than $250, and the local council refuses to acknowledge/accept it on behalf of scouting because someone has a burr in their saddle. But that's really stretchin' it, eh? You'd be hard-pressed to find any real-life cases like that.

                            More to the point, our role should be to enable and encourage charitable donations to scouting and to others. Da only reason to look at technical objections should be so that we can be Helpful - and find ways around any stumblin' blocks so as to enable good acts.

                            Again, there's nothing at all improper about accepting a scouting donation and applying it to an Eagle project. That's what churches and other charities do every day, eh? They accept donations and give the money to the poor or other needy causes. Not only is there nothing wrong with doing so, in most Eagle projects that is the clear intent of the donor which we are legally and morally bound to honor.

                            And in most cases da amounts we're talkin' about are immaterial.

                            So I think this lad is doin' just fine, and if I were an adult workin' with him I'd help him by doing what I could to further enable tax-deductible donations rather than try to get in his face over technicalities most adults don't understand.

                            Just da right thing to do, eh?



                            • #15

                              I'm not slamming the Scout. I agree that people donating to a project probably aren't going to be making a donation simply because it's tax deductible. I was just pointing out why such an error would matter - because it calls other information into question.


                              In this case, the Scout didn't get that info from his leaders. The O.P. wrote: "He did not show the letter to anyone in the troop ahead of time. However, he stated in the letter that all donations made for his Eagle Project would be tax deductible."