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4 tax-smart ways to give back on your wedding day

Were you a June bride or groom? Congratulations and best wishes!

Happy wedding couple and friends_Lindsey Child via Flickr CC"We did it!" The happy couple and friends celebrate. (Photo by Lindsey Child via Flickr CC)

You have some tax tasks to take care of once you're back from your honeymoon excursion and the thank-you notes have been sent.

Marriage is just one of the big life events that has tax implications. Today's Weekly Tax Tip has details on 7 such milestones, starting with your birth and continuing through retirement.

And since your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life -- remember it when you do have post-I do fights, and you will! -- why not consider sharing it, in a generous and tax-smart way, beyond the guests at your ceremony and reception?

Here are four relatively easy ways to take charitable tax advantage of this special event.

1. Direct donations in your name(s)
Instead of getting the run-of-the-mill wedding gifts, ask your friends and family to celebrate your union by donating in your name, or names if each of you is keeping your full birth moniker, to your favorite charity.

Those gifts by your loved ones could provide them a tax deduction if they itemize.

If you're feeling especially joyous about your nuptials, you could match at least of portion of your guests' charitable gifts and get your own write-off when you file your first joint tax return next year.

Of course, if you do get two toasters or way too many pieces of the same piece of flatware, not to mention those "OMG, what were you thinking?" gifts, give those items to a charity that can use them in its thrift shop.

Yes, you can deduct gifts you give away. Just send a thank-you note anyway, and make sure you only claim as your deductible amount the fair market value of the item.

2. Valuing the venue
Say you exchange vows at a church to which you belong and the use of the chapel is free to members. You decide, however, you want to give some cash to the church as a thank you.

That, says Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting, could qualify as a tax-deductible donation.

Note that this is different from giving the officiating minister a few bucks for declaring you legally wed. That officiant, notes Luscombe, must declare the compensation as income on his or her personal tax return.

3. Sharing the extras
Did you have a lavish reception or dinner after your wedding ceremony? Any appropriate donations of leftovers to a food bank also could be a charitable donation.

Just make sure the food group you choose accepts the excess eats that you want to give.

4. Dressy donation
If you're not sentimental, your bridal gown could help out another blushing bride and your upcoming tax bill.

Give your fancy frock to your favorite Internal Revenue Service-qualified nonprofit thrift shop where it can be resold. The charity gets the cash and the next bride gets a lovely gown at a discount.

Of you can give it to a charity that specifically deals with wedding gowns. Donate My Wedding Dress has some ideas, as does this article from Babble.

If you do decide to share your wedding bliss by being philanthropic, good for you. Just make sure that whatever form your giving takes, you follow the applicable charitable giving tax rules.

And many happy anniversaries to such a thoughtful couple.

You also might find these marriage related posts of interest:


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well noted for my upcoming wedding

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