Charitable Contributions and Your Taxes

Charitable Contributions and Your Taxes

  • November 30, 2020
  • 0 comments

Choose the right organization

In order for your donation to be deductible, it must go to a nonprofit group that is approved by the IRS. Most often, these are charitable, religious or educational organizations, though they can also be everything from your local volunteer fire company to a group for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

  • If you’re not sure whether the group you want to help is approved by the IRS to receive tax-deductible donations, check online at IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check.
  • This site allows you to enter an organization’s name and location to instantly find out if it qualifies.

Get every deduction you deserve. With TurboTax Deluxe, we’ll search over 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

Make sure it counts

To write off any cash contributions, no matter how small, you need a canceled check, bank record or a receipt with the charity’s name and donation amount. That means that putting cash in the church collection plate or the Salvation Army bucket is a no-no if you want to be able to take a deduction for it.

As with all deductions, timing is everything. You can take the deduction for your contribution in the year that you make it.

  • For example, if you mailed a check to your favorite charity on Dec. 31, you can write it off on that year’s tax return.
  • If you charge the donation on a credit card, the write-off is claimed in the year the charge is made, even if you don’t pay the credit card bill until the following year.
  • But a pledge to make a donation is different: Because it’s only a promise to make a future donation, there’s no deduction until you actually follow through.

Donations are limited

There’s also a limit on how much you can deduct. The basic rule is that your contributions to qualified public charities, colleges and religious groups can’t exceed 60% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) (100% of AGI in 2020 for qualified charities).

  • The caps are a bit lower for gifts to other types of nonprofits. When it comes to gifts of appreciated property, the limit drops to 30% of AGI.
  • If these restrictions limit your write-off in the year of the gift, the excess deduction carries over to the next year.

Also, keep in mind that you can’t write off a contribution to the extent that you get something in return.

For example:

  • If you buy a $50 ticket to a fundraising dinner at a church, but the cost of the dinner is $20, you can deduct $30.
    • $50 donation – $20 return = $30 deduction
  • For donations of more than $75, the nonprofit must give you a written statement telling you the value of what you received in return and reminding you that you can’t deduct that portion of your contribution.

There’s also a special rule for folks who donate to colleges and universities and receive the right to buy tickets to school athletic events: They can deduct 80% of their donation.

Appreciated property

Cash may be king, but if you want a really big tax saver, your best bet may be a donation of appreciated property — securities, real estate, art, jewelry or antiques.

Source Article