I work as a cook at my city’s convention center, which is, of course, city property. The ovens we have to work with are about 30 years old and badly need to be replaced. However, the city doesn’t have the money (or is unwilling to spend the money) to buy new ovens.
So, speaking hypothetically, let’s say I won some mega-millions powerball multi-state lottery, and after quitting this job I decide to do something nice for the cooks I’ve left behind, and purchase brand new ovens for the convention center.
Could I then claim the value of those ovens as something akin to a “charitable contribution” on my federal income taxes (my state doesn’t have an income tax)?
IRC Section 170©(1) says:
“© Charitable contribution defined
For purposes of this section, the term “charitable contribution” means a contribution or gift to or for the use of—
(1) A State, a possession of the United States, or any political subdivision of any of the foregoing, or the United States or the District of Columbia, but only if the contribution or gift is made for exclusively public purposes.”
There are no special restrictions on contributions to government bodies that don’t also apply to contributions to other charities such as schools and churches.
So, if the convention center is owned by the city and you make an unrestricted gift to the city of some ovens, yes, you may claim a deduction.
Now to go buy a lottery ticket…