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
- Enter Myself
- Itemized Deductions
- Gifts to Charity
Organizations that 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).
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.
Gifts from which you benefit:
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 2019- Generally, when you make a charitable contribution it must be reduced by the amount of the credit you receive in state and local taxes for the contribution. You may now qualify for a new safe harbor rule that may allows you to treat the charitable contribution as a state and local tax payment. See Schedule A instructions.
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.
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