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What contributions are deductible?

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Question
What contributions are deductible?

Answer

Generally, you can deduct your contributions of money or property that you make to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. A gift or contribution is "for the use of" a qualified organization when it is held in a legally enforceable trust for the qualified organization or in a similar legal arrangement.

The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person.

If you give property to a qualified organization, you generally can deduct the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution.

Your deduction for charitable contributions is generally limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income, but in some cases 20 and 30% limits may apply.

The total of your charitable contributions deduction and certain other itemized deductions may be limited.

Use the following lists for a quick check of contributions you can or cannot deduct.

Deductible as Charitable Contributions

  • Money or property you give to:
    • churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious organizations
    • federal, state, and local governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce the public debt)
    • nonprofit schools and hospitals
    • public parks and recreation facilities
    • salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc.
    • war veterans groups
  • Costs you pay for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization
  • Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer

Not Deductible as Charitable Contributions

  • Money or property you give to:
    • civic leagues, social and sports clubs, labor unions, and chambers of commerce
    • foreign organizations (except certain Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican charities)
    • groups that are run for personal profit
    • groups whose purpose is to lobby for law changes
    • homeowners' associations
    • individuals
    • political groups or candidates for public office
  • Cost of raffle, bingo, or lottery tickets
  • Dues, fees, or bills paid to country clubs, lodges, fraternal orders, or similar groups
  • Tuition
  • Value of your time or services
  • Value of blood given to a blood bank

See Publication 78 for a list of most qualified organizations (www.irs.gov under Charities and Non-Profits) or call 1-877-829-5500 M-F 8am - 6:30 pm EST.


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Article Details
Views: 550 Created on: Jun 15, 2013
Date updated: Aug 21, 2015
Posted in: Deductions

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