Q. I’m in a bowling league with a religious organization. Can I deduct part of the costs? I made the payment to the religious organization.
— Looking for deductions

A. You may get some strikes when you’re bowling, but this time, you’re going to strike out.

Charitable donations can be a great way to lower your tax burden, but in this case, it won’t work the way you’re hoping.

A payment to a religious organization is only a deductible charitable donation if it is a gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization, said Laurie Wolfe, a certified public accountant with Lassus Wherley in New Providence.

“If you pay over and above the cost of the bowling activity as a gift to the organization, then that portion could be deductible.” Wolfe said.

If that’s the case, she recommends you seek an acknowledgement from the organization that spells out the charitable portion of your payment.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.

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