There is no deduction but expenses can be deducted from the income received from the sale of the livestock to reduce the taxable amount.
quote from pub 225
4-H Club or FFA project.
4-H Club or FFA project. If an individual participates
in a 4-H Club or National FFA Organization
(FFA) project, any net income received
from sales or prizes related to the project may
be subject to income tax. Report the net income
as “Other income” on Schedule 1 (Form 1040),
line 8. If necessary, attach a statement showing
the gross income and expenses. The net income
may not be subject to SE tax if the project
is primarily for educational purposes and not for
profit, and is completed by the individual under
the rules and economic restrictions of the sponsoring
4-H or FFA organization. Such a project
is generally not considered a trade or business.
For information on the filing requirements and
other tax information for dependents, see Pub.
Unless your son has a profitable bona fide business (e.g., raising and selling livestock as part of a 4-H project), the expenses for his 4-H project are probably considered “hobby” expenses for tax purposes and would not be deductible. If, as a parent of a 4-H’er, you’ve become a volunteer leader, you may be able to deduct certain expenses as a volunteer.
See IRS Publication 17 for details: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p17.pdf.
If you have income from the project, then you can deduct the expenses against the income to arrive at net income.
Since we were unable to have a sale, how does that work?
Thank you for your help!
If there was no taxable income from selling the livestock then there is no income to deduct from. A deduction only reduces the amount of taxable income and tax. No income no tax anyway.