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Girls Scouts, cookies, weight loss & taxes

When I saw the headline in the San Antonio Business Journal, my heart leapt.

Girl Scouts help Health Science Center
researchers fight obesity

Alas, while the young women's latest effort is to be commended -- they're helping involve their community in a Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio project to encourage physical activity among girls -- I was hoping it had something to do with great tasting, lower calorie Thin Mints.

Hi. I'm Kay and I'm a Girl Scout cookie addict.

Girl scout cookies (2) Like anyone who's obsessive about anything, I rationalize: My cookie purchases (ooohhh, look at the variety!) are for a good cause. I'm just doing the neighborly thing by buying 10 boxes from Janie down the street.

But one justification that some folks sometimes try to use as a way to excuse their cookie craving won't work. In most cases, the $3.50 per box is not tax deductible.

That's the word from directly from the Girl Scouts: 

If the customer keeps the cookies. Individuals who buy Girl Scout Cookies and take the cookies home, or consume them, have purchased a product at a fair market value. For this reason, no part of the price of a box of Girl Scout Cookies used in this way is tax-deductible

If, however, you want to hand over your cash (exact change is always appreciated) and leave the cookies with the kid, then you've got yourself a charitable donation. But what fool is going leave those luscious goodies behind?!?

Better to buy your cookies, take them home (if you can get them there without snacking on a few -- OK, most --  en route) and then write the Girl Scouts a check so the organization can continue its programs (and cookie baking!).

The IRS, in Publication 526, has a nice table showing a few common contributions that you can and cannot deduct as a charitable gift.

Cutting the fat and your taxes: Now about the weight you put on from the cookies. If you are even more of a Girl Scout cookie monster than I am, you might get some tax relief in your efforts to drop a few pounds.

The IRS does allow you to include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if the treatment is for a specific disease, such as obesity, hypertension or heart disease, that your doctor has diagnosed.

In this case, you can count membership fees in a weight-loss group and the costs for separate meetings the group holds.

You cannot, however, include gym, health club or spa membership dues as medical expenses. But if you gym charges you extra for doctor-prescribed weight loss activities, you can count those fees.

Also remember that these weight loss costs are part of your overall medical deductions.

That means the grand total of these expenses, which you can only claim if you itemize and file Schedule A, must be more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. Even then, you can only write off the amount that's over that income threshold.

So maybe you should just buy fewer boxes of Girl Scout cookies (I can't believe I just wrote that!) and give the group a bit of extra cash. That way you could end up reducing not only your waistline, but also your tax bill.

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Only two things are certain in life - death and taxeS. LOL

Matt Carter

It would be nice if the girl scouts would make 1 cookie that wasn't so bad for you so you could buy a box of those and then a few boxes of the others. Do I need a recpt to take the tax deduction on this? Thanks


the problem is they are not going to let me write off the programs i use - but it's not up to the IRS - it's up to me..

sono bello

fighting obesity is really important, we should teach our children on how to have a healthy diet. keep posting! thanks for the post.

Steve C.

It's kind of funny I was just talking today about this with my sister Laura.

With the economy the way it is, and money being so tight, I feel like people often neglect their health, going for the fast food and living pay check to pay check.
Our weight and health should not be sacrificed, sometimes we just need a little clarity and to prioritize better our goals.

Check out a friend of mine Rob, who seems to really have this stuff figured out >>>

Girl Scout Patches

Nice post Kay! I'm also a girl scout cookie addict. Sucks that the cookies are not tax deductible!

Hannah Willis

Hi, Just stumbled upon your blog and am really keen to know what`s in those cookies that make them so irresistable? Here in the UK we have biscuits, but I don`t know how they affect the tax implications--food for thought maybe!

Weight Loss Tips

As usual great and interesting post!

I pretty much agree on everything you said above.

I think it's easier to cut your weight then taxes :) You can't run away from taxes. LOl. They will follow you all your life.

Weight Loss Clinic

I really like this site. It has a lot of useful information.
How do you relate death to texas?

adipex diet pills

Thank you. Those two words are inadequate for how much I appreciate your words, how you've put so much of my own thoughts and feelings into words. I am 44 and have struggled with my weight since I was old enough to be aware of my body. That's a damn long time.

I've done everything except surgically altering my body to lose weight, never reaching a final goal and never keeping it off. I am 5'10" and weigh (as of yesterday) 344.8 lbs, the highest I can remember. I've been on a search for THE answer as to what is wrong with me, why I'm not "normal" and have reached the conclusion there is no such thing as "normal".

My weight has hampered my life...every aspect of my life. I consider myself a food addict unfortunately though unlike other addicts I must have my addiction daily to live.

I am disconnected from my body. The picture I carry in my mind is so out of touch with reality such that when I see pictures (which is rare) I am in total shock. I avoid all reflective surfaces.

This is difficult at every stage, imo. And I look forward to reading more about your journey and incorporating some of it into my own.

Again, thank you.


Dang, I should have given that girl a cash donation last night when her mom dropped off our order. I think I'll give her a call and offer to just make a direct cash donation.


You're right! There are three constants: death, taxes and Texas!

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Only two things are certain in life - death and taxes. Or is it Texas?

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