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If one orders an item to donate to a charitable organization, such as a shul or Yeshiva, and wants to deduct the value of the item from his ma'aser money, can he deduct the shipping costs?

Does it make a difference if he could have picked the item up in the store and saved on shipping, but for his own convenience (or time constraints) chose not to?

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    It would seem logical, just as having any expenses would probably count as ma'aser. Perhaps even the stamps used to mail in a check is part of the ma'aser. It would not matter what you could have done, only what you actually did. – sabbahillel Jun 11 '14 at 22:11
  • @ypnypn thanks - I'm particularly un-gifted at making titles. – Y     e     z Jun 11 '14 at 23:49
  • Considering that ma'aser to begin with is not a real requirement, but rather a good practice, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to do that... – WhoKnows Jun 12 '14 at 0:03
  • @WhoKnows I assume you wouldn't use the same logic to say that you could toss it in to a lake. And sifri to devarim 14:22 implies it is a mitzvah. – Y     e     z Jun 12 '14 at 3:05
  • @YEZ Theoretically, you can do with your money what you want... And we don't seem to hold like that Sifri halacha l'masei. – WhoKnows Jun 12 '14 at 13:52
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If we generalize a bit I understand you are asking if expenses related to tzedakah count as tzedakah, with a subcase being when expenses are for the convenience of the donor.

Eretz Hemda addresses a very similar scenario

For sure, the full amount [you spend which] counts. It is rare to give donations where there are not costs in some form and usually there is no way to avoid or to calculate how much.

In general, it is how much you spend on it. For example, you can count toward maaser the stamp and envelope (if you still send that way), even if I don't know I would suggest being that exacting.

R Shimon Taub in The laws of tzedakah and maaser (p. 104) says a charity collector is permitted to deduct from the tzedakah account any expenses that were incurred to enable the tzedakah fund to function. I think the analogy holds here as well.

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