Question: Helen Nelson decided to run for a political office in her local community. For her campaign, she incurred the following expenses totaling $1,570 that she personally paid: $930 printing, yard signs $260, and $380 postage and mailings. Are these allowable deductions on her tax return?
Answer: No. The campaign expenses are not allowable deductions on Helen’s tax return. Taxpayers are normally allowed a deduction for ordinary and necessary business expenses. However, such political expenditures are generally not deductible as trade or business expenses. Under §162(e)(1)(B), no deduction is allowed for political expenditures and lobbying expenses, including amounts paid or incurred in connection with any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office. Under Reg. §1.276-1(f)(2), a political candidate is a person who, at the time of the event or publication with respect to which the deduction is being sought, has been selected or nominated by a political party for any elective office. It also includes an individual who is generally believed, under the facts and circumstances at the time of the event or publication, by the persons making expenditures in connection therewith to be an individual who is or who in the reasonably foreseeable future will be seeking selection, nomination, or election to any public office.