TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bagging a Charitable Deduction

Interesting article in the Washington Post:  Loophole For Hunters Targeted; Senate Debates Curbing Tax Breaks on Trophies:

Big-game hunters will find it far more difficult and less lucrative to donate their extra trophy mounts and claim charitable tax deductions under new tax rules being debated this week on the Senate floor. Tightening the trophy-mount tax break, and making sure that museums do not accept donated items with the intention of quickly selling them off, have been identified as priorities by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee....

The loophole Grassley said he is seeking to close allows big-game hunters to deduct some or all of the cost of their safaris if they later donate to a museum some of the trophy animals they kill and have mounted. The new rules would allow some donations, but would limit the amount of charitable contribution that could be deducted to the market value of the specimen, rather than the replacement value.

In addition, the new provisions would make it far more difficult for museums to accept hundreds of donations that they had no intention of keeping and displaying to the public. The Wyobraska Wildlife Museum in Gering, Neb., for instance, received hundreds of donated trophy mounts in recent years and kept most of them in trailers behind its modest facility before selling them at a taxidermy auction for a small percentage of the value claimed by donors.

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