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Can I deduct the cost of my daughter's wedding?

Updated April 17, 2017

You want your princess to have the wedding of her dreams, but weddings aren't cheap. The average wedding costs between £15,600 and £18,200, as of June 2011. Wedding expenses for yourself or your children typically are not tax deductible. However, there are a couple of legal ways to write off portions of the wedding expenses. Always check with your accountant before deducting wedding expenses on your taxes.

Facility

Check with your facility to find out if the owners have a non-profit status that would allow you to designate the facility rental as a donation. This is most likely if your daughter's wedding is in a church. The church must provide you with a donation recognition letter for all or part of the facility expense if you are going to deduct the amount on your taxes.

Food

If you are anticipating leftover food, arrange with a local charity or food mission to come pick up leftovers after the reception. The charity can provide you with a donation receipt for the value of the food you provide. There are limitation to this: most charities won't take open food, or food that has been heated and then refrigerated. If you're wanting to deduct some of the food and drink expense, only put out food as needed for guests, and store the rest in unopened containers or refrigerated, if possible. If you're serving a sit-down dinner, this option probably won't work for you.

Salary

If you own your own business, you might have another option to help you deduct part of the wedding expenses, especially if your daughter is planning a long engagement. Hire your daughter through your business, and pay her a salary. Her job can include coming into the business or handling marketing efforts from home, such as setting up and managing a social networking site for the business. Make sure to fill out all necessary employee tax forms, and report her earnings to the IRS using a W-2. You can make it clear her earnings must go to pay for the wedding. Your business should be able to deduct her salary. Solicit the advice of your accountant before hiring your daughter to make sure the paperwork is in order.

Business Guests

Although it's tempting to try to deduct some of the wedding expenses if you invite people with whom you do business, such as employees, vendors or customers, this is not a legal way to deduct wedding expenses. The primary purpose of a wedding is classified as personal entertainment, not business-related entertainment. Even if you talk business at the reception, don't try to write off wedding expenses as a business expense just because you invited work-related guests.

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About the Author

Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.