First Communion Donation


Do you think my $50 fee/donation for my son’s First Communion is tax-deductible?

Most parish churches provide parishoners with receipts for tax purposes at year’s end provided you pay with check or put the offering in your envelope so the donation can be tracked.

As a non-profit, the parish Church will suggest you consult a tax advisor or accountant about what you deduct . . . . . .

i don’t understand what this fee/donation is for?

If the donation was a stipend for the Mass, it is usually on the statement from the parish, so would probably be deductible.

If it is the fee for Sacrament preparation (classes, books, supplies, etc.) it is probably no more deductible than Catholic school tuition. :wink:

My parish has a meterials fee. Covers the books the kids use in class as well as the celebration after the Mass. But no one is ever denied if they cannot afford it.

Is that the same in other parishes?

Oh, I need to clarify.

My son goes to Catholic school. He will make his Communion at the Parish where his school is, not at our normal Parish, so I don’t get statements for this other Parish, as we don’t normally donate there.

I thought the donation was just a suggested donation, like when we got married. I guess I assumed that it was just to cover any expenses incurred by the parish. It wasn’t for his materials, as we pay tuition at school which covers all his Religion materials.

of course it is a donation

If you are giving money to a **priest **for the Mass or as a gift, no it is not tax deductible.

I made the check out to the church…“St. _______ R.C. Church”

That in and of itself does not determine deductibility.

What was the purpose of this $50?

if everyone in the program was charged a fee for books, resources, retreat whatever, it is a fee, and not deductible.
If you were invited to give a donation, payable to the parish, with a suggested but not demanded amound, it was a donation, and tax deductible. If you made a voluntary gift to the priest personally, not a check payable to the parish, it is a gift, and not deductible. OP said donation, so figure out what it is. If you have to pay it, it is a fee, not a donation.

before we even start, there are NO FEES for sacraments in the CAtholic Church. Ever. even if the parish secretary is as loose in her language as we are here. If it is a fee it is for instruction, resources, books, materials, candles whatever. If it is a donation it is free will and not required.

Interesting stuff, thanks.

I will have to ask what it was for – I was simply told that we needed to give $50 for First Communion. It wasn’t demanded, exactly, but also nowhere did it say it was optional – it was just very matter of fact - like, “please make out a check for $50 to St ____ before May 1.” I can’t imagine it’s for materials – my kids attend Catholic school and my tuition covers all their books and materials every year, but we are only asked for this additional amount in 2nd grade for Communion, and in 7th grade for Confirmation.

I mean, they did have a little retreat day at school where they got pizza and did a little craft before going to Reconciliation and practicing the Communion readings, songs and processional, but I can’t imagine that cost $50 per child.

I suppose I just assumed that it was a “suggested donation” which is what we were asked for by other parishes for 1. our wedding and 2. our kids’ baptisms.

Since your check was made out to the parish and not to the school, I would be curious too, and would ask, since you have already paid the school for the religious instruction and materials. Ask if it was a suggested or optional donation (which would be tax-deductible), or if it was a fee (and if so, what was it covering – it still might be tax-deductible).

Was the first Communion a special Mass, outside of the parish’s regularly scheduled Masses? If so, perhaps the school was asked to help cover the extra air conditioning and other costs, and hence, the requests for $50 per child. Just guessing.

Yes, it was a special Mass. There were 55 first Communicants. Can’t imagine that the air conditioning and cleaning the church cost $2750.00!

You might be surprised to find out what it costs to heat, cool and clean a Church! Not to mention the costs for buying hosts, wine, candles, altar linens . . . .

My daughter goes to Catholic school too. BUT, when Sacrament years come around – 2nd and 8th – the families are asked to pay an additional fee to materials, books, food, etc. The kids get additional book and materials that are not covered by the school tuition during these years. After the 1st Communion Mass and Confirmation Mass, there is a party with cake and punch and snacks. Also, the Church pays a photographer to come take pictures. All those things add up. Yet, no one is denied if they cannot afford it.

Why not ask your pastor or parish business manager if you have questions?

another factor
is the school part of the parish, or a separate corporation
ours is on parish grounds and they lease the building at nominal cost from us, but they are an independent regional school. even if it is a parochial school, in most dioceses the DRE and the Parish oversee all sacramental prep even for the Catholic school children. Not how it always works out in practice (they are not supposed to have a separate celebration, for instance, but many do). If the parish is undertaking the expense of sacramental prep either they bill the school and it will be added to your tuition, or you pay your parish for the costs. We run on a tight budget but the expense out of my budget for each family with children making first communion (and figure first confession into that as well) is an additional $32 per child (books and supplies) and $15-18 per family depending on what I use for parent-sponsor meetings and retreats. The school pays me nothing, I am not allowed to charge, only ask for a donation, so the parish eats at least 80% of the cost. That does not count overhead (salaries, a/c etc). I just ran the figures for this year.

I will not be purchasing separate sacramental program packages next year. They are IMO overpriced and unnecessary if the basic classroom instruction and text are well done. I think the parent meeting resources we have been using (from Our Sunday Visitor-Catholic Parent know-how) are excellent, but we can no longer afford them, especially as we receive almost no help from the school or those parents.

The past two years since the economy tanked fewer than half the CCD parents are contributing anything to the cost of their child’s RE either. So we will reuse textbooks until they fall apart, and rely on donations for supplies.

My only point is that the $50 is completely reasonable if your parish is asking for that to cover their cost of the preparation program.

You can double those numbers for confirmation, by the way.

is the school part of the parish, or a separate corporation

Yes, it is a Parish school. It is not a Diocesan regional school. The Parish subsidizes the school to a significant extent.

even if it is a parochial school, in most dioceses the DRE and the Parish oversee all sacramental prep even for the Catholic school children. Not how it always works out in practice (they are not supposed to have a separate celebration, for instance, but many do).

The Principal of the school is also in charge of Religious Ed at the Parish. All the kids (school and CCD) make their Communion together, at one Mass. We had 23 kids from the school plus 26 more from the CCD program at the Parish. I would say about 50% of the school kids are also Parishioners there. So about 12-15 kids made their Communion there, but are NOT Parishioners there (my child included). So I pay tuition to the school, but do not donate at the Parish. We are registered parishioners and regular donors at a neighboring Parish.

My only point is that the $50 is completely reasonable if your parish is asking for that to cover their cost of the preparation program.

I have absolutely NO problem whatsoever making this donation. My question was just more to clarify whether it was tax deductible. It just seemed to me that it couldn’t really be COSTING them $50 per child, as I pay tuition to cover religious ed. materials (There were no more materials for a sacramental year than for any other year of religious ed – just a book. The teacher is the same classroom teacher who teaches everything else). I guess I just don’t know how one single Mass could cost $50 per child. But I don’t know – I don’t have any real insight into that type of thing.

as I say I report only from my own experience.
just ask at the parish or school office, is this a tax deductible donation or is it a fee?

This is one of those areas that each parish should be very carful about bc there is a long history of abuses in this area. . .
Here is an ex nun who left the church because of the handling of these “donations & fees”
“Especially over little girls first communion”

More recently, I am trying to get my daughter through SMRE
I gave my church the $50

I received no materials
I did receive
The wrong dates and times for the classes

When I questioned the church receptionist
She then pressured me and told me there would be multiple additional requests for money before first communion could be had.
But assured me I was not “paying for my daughters communion”

I almost cried bc the $50 was actually difficult for me at that time, I was in hardship.
So I probably looked worried and asked “how much more”
She said she couldn’t exactly say. . .
It was a clear shake down. And it happend in front of my child. Who now keeps commenting "mommie you already paid for my classes, , , "

My daughter missed the classes last year,
I never got supplies, , , or proper meeting schedule. My money was simply gone.
I went back and asked to set up a meeting again with this lady
And it’s been the worst experience . . ,
I’m clearly getting shaken down again.

I requested a different parish help and was told they have enough of their own flock to worry about. Not to “cross parish lines”

This is a huge issue, that is alive and well in the church and something needs done about it.
I know churches need money to function
But first communion
Especially for little girls
Is not the time to collect

Obviously the church has been guilty of issues in the way they collect funds many times in the past. . .
One might even say it’s what led to,a list of complaints being nailed to their door and many schisims.

I have no intention of leaving the church bc there is no where to go.
I know the truth
And I also know . This is wrong and I am very angry,
It most certainly would lead to some people leaving, , , but that is not what I am called to.
I can only preserver and deal with this unfortunate situation
That I know others are going through as well. . .

Sounds like a lot of miscommunication. Are you a registered parishioner? Do they know you well? Did you ask to have the fees waived? You can do that, you know.
Did you child attend classes at all in the prep year? What are your Diocesan requirements for reception of First Eucharist? Our Diocese requires 2 years of RE prior to Frist Communion and First reconciliation.
We charge nothing. We ask for no donations. We provide all the textbooks, all the materials for the retreat, cover the programs. All we do is arrange for a photographer if the families want portraits done at their expense. But we do give everyone a group picture and an individual picture with the Pastor.
The Parish Secretary is not the one to approach for Religious Ed. Speak to your DRE next time and get the straight story up front. The other parish likely has people “parish-hopping” for Sacraments, thus the less than charitable response. Not an excuse, but it happens. We see it all the time for Confirmation. Our Dean even had a meeting of all the Youth Ministers to combat this issue. Nothing gets people riled up more than schedules and Sacraments for their children.
It’s not a huge issue. You had a bad experience. Most likely from miscommunication.
I know of no church that charges for Sacraments. Or asks for donations, for that matter.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit