My husband was recently diagnosed (5/1/11) with a malignant brain tumor and has been referred to MD Anderson for care. We've made 2 trips to Houston from New Orleans already in a month and have to return there again week after next for another brain surgery. Of course the medical bills are piling up as this next surgery will be his 2nd brain surgery in 2 months and we have out of pocket expenses involved with each trip (gas, meals, lodging, etc.). My sister-in-law has informed us that she has planned a benefit to raise money for us, which was a surprise to us. She's been working on it for a couple of weeks and just told us about it a few days ago. She's gotten prizes donated that she plans to raffle off as well as doing a 50/50 raffle and now I'm wondering what my husband and I will need to do with regards to our taxes as we intend to be claiming our medical expenses and such. I'm just not sure how benefits work, legally and such and I doubt she has pursued finding out the legalities involved. Do we have to claim this as income? We just don't want to get into any tax trouble. My SIL & BIL are both in the restaurant business so they know a lot of people, have access to many vendors and I'm told they received prizes and such from them to raffle off. Again, I'm sure she's just doing all this through her friends and work connections - so basically we'll be receiving like a lump sum that she collected from the cover charge at the door and raffle money collected and I didn't know how that would affect us on our taxes. Despite how she got what she got on our behalf, (I mean, I do NOT know if those that donated prizes or services are looking to claim what they gave), I just wanted to make sure we do the right thing on our end.
Thank you kindly for your time.
(Sorry for the repost: There were errors when I tried to add to this earlier, so I just started over)