I'm a member of the Chicago Children's Museum, which is a 501(c)(3) cultural organization. I pay $115 a year in membership dues. That membership includes free admission and a 10% discount on food and merchandise.
In doing my taxes this year, I was looking into deductions, and noticed that they list the following on their website (on the page linked above):
Under IRS guidelines, Family and Explorers memberships are 100% tax deductible, and receipts or cancelled checks should be retained as proof of membership purchase. Donor-level members (Builders and Inventors) will receive written acknowledgment from the museum regarding the tax-deductible portion of their memberships.
These two memberships are $115 and $145, respectively, annually. The next membership up (Builders) is $250 annually.
This is in conflict with the IRS regulations as I read them:
Certain membership benefits can be disregarded. Both you and the organization can disregard the following membership benefits if you get them in return for an annual payment of $75 or less.
This is over $75, so I would think they'd need to issue letters for all of their memberships, given admission does count as a benefit from my reading of this (just not at the under $75 level).
Is the museum wrong, or am I misreading the IRS regulation? My only thought is that perhaps the $75 is per person (so my wife and I each get $75, or $150 in total)? I also have two other museum memberships who don't mention deductibility; one is $85, the other is $155. Are either deductible? (Both are 501(c)(3) organizations.)
I may contact the museum, but suspect they'll tell me to talk to a tax professional, given their website's disclaimer on the subject.
Edit: I contacted the museum, and they unsurprisingly simply reiterated that I can attach a printout of the website's note (above) along with the receipt for the payment and be good to go. I'm curious if they are actually claiming there is no tangible benefit to the museum membership - as that would mean they're not required to issue a letter if there isn't a tangible benefit.
This is related in part to this question, although the specifics are somewhat different; some of those answers, though, may be useful to others finding this question.