Funeral Vs. Memorial Service

July 10, 2009

Was Michael Jackson’s service at the Staples Center on Tuesday a funeral or a memorial service? The distinction is causally defined by the presence of the casket. If the casket is present it’s defined as a funeral.

It turns out this distinction has implications for the tax deductibility of Michael Jackson’s service. From the Tax Prof:

Any other costs paid for by the estate for the public memorial which was not part of the funeral should not be allowed as a deduction. The public memorial, while touching, was not really part of the funeral, and the IRS would have a strong argument if they chose to disallow the deduction.

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