For the 2021 return:
Individual tax filers, including married individuals filing separate returns, can claim a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made to qualifying charities during 2021. The maximum deduction is increased to $600 for married individuals filing joint returns.
Included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March 2020, a more limited version of this temporary tax benefit originally only applied to tax-year 2020. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted last December, generally extended it through the end of 2021.
Cash contributions include those made by check, credit card or debit card as well as amounts incurred by an individual for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with their volunteer services to a qualifying charitable organization. Cash contributions don't include the value of volunteer services, securities, household items or other property.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to make sure they're donating to a recognized charity. To receive a deduction, taxpayers must donate to a qualified charity.
New for the 2020 tax return:
If you don't itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), you (or you and your spouse if filing jointly) can take a charitable deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made in 2020 to organizations that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose. See Pub. 526 for more information on the types of organizations that qualify. A deduction can't be taken for a contribution to an organization described in IRC 509(a)(3) or for the establishment of a new, or maintenance of an existing, donor advised fund. Also, contributions of noncash property and contributions carried forward from prior years don't qualify for this deduction. See the Instructions for Schedule A and Pub. 526 for more information on those types of contributions. Enter the total amount of your contributions on line 10b. Don't enter more than $300.
**To make this entry: Go to the deductions page of the federal return, at the section "Charitable contributions if you take the standard deduction" (show more), enter the amount applicable to your filing status.