Yes, You can deduct contributions or gifts that you may made to various organizations during the tax year. Qualifying contributions can be made in cash, property (clothing, furniture, household items, or vehicles), or out-of-pocket expenses (such as mileage) you accumulated while doing volunteer work for a qualifying organization. For more information on qualified contributions, please review Publication 526.
If you did make any qualifying contributions to charitable organizations during the tax year, you can enter these under:
- Federal Section
- Itemized Deductions
- Gifts to Charity
What organizations qualify?
You can deduct contributions or gifts made to charitable, educational, literary, religious, or scientific organizations. You can also deduct what you give to organizations that work to prevent the cruelty of children or animals.
If you made a contribution, but are not sure if the organization qualifies as charitable, please:
- Contact the organization to which you contributed as they should be able to provide for you verification of their charitable status.
- Search for a charity or non-profit organization and find out if it’s eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions by clicking on the link for Exempt Government Organizations.
- Call the IRS Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500 (Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST).
What about Gifts of $250 or more?
You can deduct a gift of $250 or more ONLY if you have a statement/receipt from the charitable organization showing:
- The amount of any monetary contribution and/or a description (but not value) of any property donated
- Any goods or services, if any, given in return for your contribution (if you did receive any goods or services, the estimated value and description of what was received must be listed).
In figuring whether a gift is $250 or more, do not combine separate donations to the same organization. For example, if you gave your church $25 each week totaling $1300 for the year, treat each $25 contribution as a separate gift or if you gave an organization 3 separate gifts of $100, treat each gift separately rather than a $300 donation. Since each payment is a separate contribution and you would NOT be required to have the statement/receipt as described above.
What gifts do I benefit from?
If you gave a gift or contribution and received a benefit in return (such as food, merchandise, entertainment, or services), you can generally deduct only the amount which is more than the actual value of the benefit.
Example: You paid $100 to a qualifying non-profit organization to attend a fund-raising gala and the value of the dinner and entertainment was $40. Your deduction would be $60 ($100 - $40 = $60).
- New for 2020- If you have a limit on the qualified contributions you are allowed to deduct you may be able to choose a temporary suspension. See Publication 526 and Schedule A instructions.
- New for 2021- If you don't itemize your deductions, you may qualify to take a deduction for contributions of up to $600 ($300 if single, head of household, married filing separate or qualifying widow(er) and $600 for married filing jointly).
What about non-cash gifts or contributions?
Generally, if you made non-cash contributions, such as clothing, furniture, household items, or vehicles to a qualifying organization, you can deduct the value of that property. If you gave used items, you should only deduct the current fair market value. “Fair market value” means what a person would pay a willing seller if neither is in a position that they MUST buy or sell, and both know the transaction's conditions.
Are there gifts you CANNOT deduct?
You cannot deduct any of the following expenses or contributions:
- Contributions to a specified person
- Contributions to non-qualified organizations
- Portion of a contribution from which you receive or expect to receive a benefit
- Value of your time or services
- Your personal expenses
- A Qualified Charitable Distribution from an Individual Retirement Account
- Appraisal fees
- Certain contributions to donor-advised funds
- Certain contributions of partial interests in property