I need a full time assistant just to manage the kids these days (don’t worry, Mom, I don’t actually have one). School started last week which means that this week, extracurricular activities have started in earnest. In addition to escorting my kids back and forth to dance, gymnastics and soccer, respectively, I have to spend time tracking down the right color leotard, the correct size shin guards and extra gymnastics leotards since my daughter’s keep mysteriously disappearing (I don’t even want to know).
All of these costs are adding up. And sadly, they’re largely not tax deductible.
You can’t deduct the out of pocket costs associated with afterschool or extracurricular activities like cheerleading, football, dance or soccer even if the programs are affiliated with school. That includes what you spend on uniforms and accessories. Those are considered personal expenses which are not deductible.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. The most obvious – and least common – is that expenses related to cheerleading and other sports can be deductible if your child is engaged in those activities as a professional. That changes the nature of the expense from a personal expense to a business expense. So, works for the Manning family, but not very likely for the rest of us.
Another exception is that while instructional fees are generally not deductible, if the activity is taking the place of other child care, it might be. The cost of sending your child to an after school program may be a qualifying expense, even if it focuses on a particular activity. As with summer camp, you’re not required to choose the cheapest child care option to claim the expense so long as it otherwise qualifies.
And all of those checks that you write to buy pizza kits and candles for your child’s team sport? Also not deductible. However, if the organization is a tax-exempt organization (including your child’s school), you may take a charitable deduction for a contribution – with nothing in return – directly to the organization. Considering ditching the greeting card catalog and writing a nice check instead.
Keeping track of all of your kids’ activities can be tough… which leads me to my next giveaway. You can enter to win a dry erase calendar set (or other funky design) found here at WallPops (no Fathead or Euro for purposes of the giveaway due to license restrictions). WallPops distributes removable, repositionable wall art with Dry Erase calendars – like the one above – that are perfect for back to school and dorm room decorating.
It’s easy to enter. Just post a comment below to tell me how you’re coping with scheduling: scribbled notes? iCal? Memory? The kindness of strangers? Phone app? White board?
I’ll choose one winner randomly (using a number generator) out of all of the qualifying entries.
Here are some more rules because, as you know, I’m a lawyer and I like rules:
- Entries must be posted in the comments section for this blog post in the space below by 4:59 p.m. EST on September 16, 2011.
- Don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show immediately. If it goes to moderation because, for example, you’re new here, the time stamp on your comment is what counts. If you have difficulty registering, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and copy me (email@example.com) so that I can help if I need to/can.
- I love my Twitter followers and my Facebook fans but for this particular giveaway, tweets and Facebook comments will not be counted. Ditto for emails. You must leave your comment on the blog at this post.
- You can enter as many times as you like but you must leave a different answer each time you comment.
- Offensive comments or comments that otherwise violate the comment policy will be deleted and will not be considered valid for purposes of the contest.
- Pingbacks and other links will be disregarded for purposes of the contest.
- You must include your full name and your email address with your entry, just enter it when you register to comment. I won’t publish your email address but I do need contact information for the winning entry.
- Due to shipping considerations, only United States addresses, please. Sorry, Canada, eh?
- I respect your privacy and I will not send you anything unrelated to your entry in this contest.
- By entering the contest, you agree that I may post any part or all of your submission including your name as a part of the contest announcements or promotions, with the exception of your email address.
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