Should Family Members Write Two Checks for an Event, One for the Charitable Portion, and One for the Non-Deductible Portion?

Well, this one’s easy, but not for the reason that you think. You should stop that process all together. The IRS has ruled that you can’t split payments that way. If there’s a deductible portion and non-deductible, this process, known as “bifurcation” is not permissible. The IRS has said you can’t write the charitable portion out of the foundation and pay the non-charitable portion.

If you can’t attend on the foundation’s dime, you can’t attend by splitting it. There are letter rulings in particular in the corporate context that says this bifurcation isn’t permissible. So if a ticket is a $1,000 ticket and a $100 is your benefit, and $900 is the foundation, the foundation can’t write $900 and let you go for $1,000.

The only exception to that is if there are tickets that anybody could buy for $100 that would allow them to attend without having to pay the $900; in this case, you may be able to do it. But, generally, this bifurcations issue comes up where people want to split the cost. The IRS has held that you can’t split the cost.

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