Monday, September 1, 2008
Appropriately for this holiday weekend, MSNBC has an article describing the growth of charity-affiliated donor trips, particularly to international locations, and listing 10 questions to ask before booking such a trip. The primary attraction of such trips is to see what one's donations are actually doing, be it building health clinics, housing orphans, or protecting an ecosystem. The article describes the payments for such trips both as "donations" and as "fees," but in the answer to the last question ("Is the trip tax-deductible?") clarifies that "You can't claim a deduction for travel expenses." It also notes that only donations to charities "approved by" (it should be "recognized by") the IRS are deductible and then only if the appropriate statement is received in return.