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Are Girl Scout cookies deductible? Maybe

It's one of my favorite times of the year: Thin Mint Season!

I admit it. I have no willpower when it comes to Thin Mints and any kind of ice cream. I could eat a whole box of these wonderful Girl Scout cookies (ideally crumbled atop a big bowl of creamy vanilla ice cream) in one sitting.

So the hubby is the keeper of the GS cookies, storing them on a high shelf in the pantry. And, when we do munch them, guarding the foil sleeve containing the addictive treats.

Aside from their scrumptiousness, one of the other great things about the cookies is that the purchase of them helps support the Girl Scouts.

And that means that every cookie season, which also happens to be during tax-filing season, the question always arises: Is what you pay for all those boxes of Girl Scout cookies tax deductible?

The answer comes directly from the Girl Scouts themselves, via their special cookie Web site: No and Yes.

Girl_scout_cookies_2 No, if the customer keeps the cookies.

Individuals who buy Girl Scout Cookies and take the cookies home, or consume them before they even get home, 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, i.e., scarfed down, is tax-deductible.

Yes, if the customer leaves the cookies with Girl Scouts.

Many Girl Scouts ask customers to pay for one or more boxes of cookies for use in their community service project, for example, collecting for a food bank. The customers who do so don't get any direct benefit from paying for the cookies, so they may treat the purchase price of the donated cookies as a charitable contribution.

Good for all you folks who donate your cookies.

Me, I'm keeping and eating my Thin Mints. There's no tax break big enough for me to give up these goodies!

Chasing down the cookie wagon: I can't really complain about the hubby's rationing of Girl Scout cookies, at least not this year.

I usually pick up a box (or two or three or ...) from the table set up outside our local grocery store. This year, though, hubby brought home the cookies.

The other day, I was still in my pajamas and typing away on the laptop (updating the blog, no doubt) when the doorbell rang. Because I was in the middle of an inspired (I'm sure) post, I just ignored it.

I figured it was (a) a delivery guy, who usually just drops the package, rings the bell and runs, or (b) one of the annoying solicitors who, despite the signs in our neighborhood that we'd rather they not bother us, still try to get us to use their various services.

Then I thought what if it's (c) a neighbor needing something?

So I got up and peeked out the window just in time to see a woman and two young children pulling a red wagon head down our driveway. At that same time, the hubby took a look, too.

And he recognized what was in the wagon: Boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Now it was a cold day, and the blustery wind made it even more so. But the hubby, who had just climbed out of the shower, jumped into action. He threw on some clothes and, hair still damp, braved the elements to track down the cookie wagon.

Of course he did this mainly to help out our neighbors down the street. He's always been a big supporter of buying locally; in this case, very locally.

But I think he also knew that if I missed out on my annual Thin Mint fix, the climate in our house would be a lot more uncomfortable than those few cookie-seeking minutes in the elements!

find_cookies_thin-mintGet your own cookies: If you need to restock your cookie larder, the Girl Scouts can help.

Just click on the Thin Mint there to your left and you'll go to a Web site that will help you track down the goodies in your area. (If the image doesn't show up in your browser or feed reader, click here.)

And if the cookies put you in such a good mood that you want to do more, click here for information on how to donate to the Girl Scouts. In this case, you will get to count your additional monetary gift as a tax-deductible charitable donation. 


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