Tax Services for Pagans, Thelemites, Magicians and Occultists

Deduct Your Dues – and more!

January 27th, 2009

There has been confusion in the past about whether O.T.O. dues are tax-deductible. Some have noted that dues paid to “fraternal organizations” are not deductible according to the IRS. Indeed this is the case for organizations like the Freemasons, which are usually organized as 501(c)(8) or 501(c)(10) organizations–in other words, their purpose is primarily fraternal. O.T.O., on the other hand, is organized as a 501(c)(3) organization–our primary purpose is spiritual (i.e. religious). Thus, our dues are considered to be contributions and are therefore tax-deductible.

The following types of contributions to O.T.O. are tax-deductible:

  • Grand Lodge Dues
  • Local Body Dues
  • Donations to your local body or to Grand Lodge directly. This includes cash donations such as jar contributions at Mass and admissions to events, and also donations of items (at fair market value).
  • Unreimbursed Expenses – if you buy candles or roses for your local body out of your own pocket and are not reimbursed, you can deduct these expenses as charitable contributions.
  • Mileage – you can deduct 14 cents a mile, plus tolls and parking, when you use your car to provide services for O.T.O. purposes. This includes driving to and from your local body if you are an officer or otherwise helping out.
  • Travel – you can also deduct the cost of airfare, lodging, meals, and local transportation if you travel for O.T.O. purposes at your own expense. This includes NOTOCON, Kaaba, Initiator Training, etc. if you are a member of a local body, therefore representing your local body at a national or regional convention.

The following types of payments to O.T.O. are generally not tax-deductible:

  • Initiation Fees
  • Bar Tips, Feast Fees
  • Newsletter/Journal Subscriptions
  • Purchases of Books, T-Shirts, etc.

As a general rule, it is not deductible if you get something tangible in return. Initiation fees generally cover actual expenses incurred in providing the initiation, exclusively for your benefit, and would therefore not be deductible. If you pay for food, drink, products, etc. then you are receiving something tangible in return and the cost is not deductible.

There are some grey areas such as fundraising dinners, raffles, auctions, etc. for which it would be prudent to consult with a qualified tax advisor before listing them as a deduction.

Feel free to comment here or contact me privately with any further questions or to ask about particular situations.

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