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Nonprofit Law/Reimbursable expenses for Mission Trips


1)  IF a non profit organization authorizes and approves a mission trip in advance then is the cost of the plane ticket for the mission trip tax deductible?  

2)  From my interpretation of the IRS info, no meals, hotel or other related personal expenses incurred on site during the mission trip are considered tax deductible since they are not unique expenses, eg. you have to pay to eat and have somewhere to stay whether at home or abroad, is this valid?

3)  If the non profit organization sponsors and pays for the entire trip and solicits support and money for payment for the trip then is that entire expense tax deductible?


1.  It appears that you are asking whether the passenger, who pays for his or her travel to the 501(c)(3) organization, is eligible to treat that payment as donations that are deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.  The answer is "no".  As to charitable deductions, see IRS Publication 526 "Charitable
Donations"  which is available at:
on page 6 where the IRS lists as not deductible "Contributions to
individuals who are needy or worthy. This includes contributions to
a qualified organization if you indicate that your contribution is
for a specific person."

starting in the middle of page 18 as to missionary programs
down to the end, on page 26.

For #2 and #3 I would need more details, but first read those 9 pages from the IRS and, if you still have a question let me know in a follow-up.

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

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Harvey Mechanic


I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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