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Deducting Charitable Contributions? When you can and can’t?


Deducting Charitable Contributions? When you can and can’t?

These rules changed a few years ago, but we have found many taxpayers aren’t aware of them.
Your donation must be to a qualified Charitable Organization.


You cannot deduct payments:
  • To an individual, even if it is for a charitable purpose
  • To a political organization (not since 30 years ago)
  • To a political candidate
  • If you receive a benefit corresponding to the amount paid


You must document your money contribution:
  • Every donation must be supported by a document, a receipt, a canceled check or a credit card receipt.
  • Every donation over $250 must have a receipt from the donee organization at the time you file your tax return, and it must have the statement that no goods or services were provided in exchange for the gift.
  • If goods or services were received for the donation, the receipt must state the value of what was received. Only the amount in excess of the value received is deductible.


Non-cash donations documentation:
  • Clothing and household items must be in good or better used condition.
  • Must have a receipt from the organization for any donation.
  • Like a monetary donation every donation of $250 needs to be supported by a receipt from the organization and include a description of what was donated.
  • If the donation is valued at $500 or more it needs to be listed separately on your tax form 8283 with several details noted.
  • Claiming a donation of $5,000 or more usually requires a qualified appraisal, except for donations of publicly traded stock.  Any noncash donation of this size has special requirements and the donor should be careful to comply with all of the rules.  See IRS publications 526 and 561 and the instructions to IRS form 8283.