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Anne, Master Tax Preparer
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 2421
Experience:  Enrolled Agent with 25 Years Experience specializing Individual and Small Businesses
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i am an independent herbalife distributor and have a ...

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i am an independent herbalife distributor and have a quesiton about donating food products like protein bars and nutritional shakes to either a church or homeless shelter. can someone filing an individual tax return take a deduction for the cost of food they are donating. if no, what about donating products like shampoo and soap to a shelter or women''s center. can those items be written off on an individual tax return? tb

Hi Todd

Thank you for using justanswer. In general, you may take a charitable deduction for food or merchandise you donate to recognized charities. By recoginized I mean those places that have applied for and received 501(c)3 status, such as your church, women's shelter, etc. If you have a place in mind you would like to donate to and you're not sure if they are 501(c) 3 qualified, ask them.

These would not be deductible as a business expense. If you are donating inventory items from your business, you would deduct the cost of the items on page 2 of your <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="1">2007 Form 1040 (Schedule C) Profit or Loss From Business on line 36 (relating to inventory)

"Purchases less cost of items withdrawn for personal use"

You would then report these donations on 2007 Form 1040 (Schedules A) Itemized Deductions.

I hope this helps.

Publication 526 (2007), Charitable Contributions

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Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Anne's Post: so in other words, these schedules are if you are a business and as a business you must use these schedules (i am assuming that both schedules A and C are for business only) to take the deduction. if you are an independent distributor for a network marketing company, you can file an individual return and take a deduction personally; is that right? if so, is there an individual schedule you must use to take the deduction?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
didn't know how to get back to the reply page

Hi again Todd

Only the Schedule C is connected with your business, and I mentioned that form only to let you know that you may not write off a charitable deduction as a business expense.

Individuals may only claim their charitable deductions on their Federal 1040 Schedule A (Itemized deductions) If you find that you do not have enough to be able to itemize deductions, then there is no other place on your federal tax return that you may write off these charitable contributions.

If you need more clarification, please let me know.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Anne's Post: anne, one more quick follow up and i'll leave you alone. so as an individual, you can take a deduction for under $5000 and use form 8283. as a business you can't do it all? tb

Sorry about the delay....

Yes, you are correct.


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