Tax Facts: Charitable Deductions

Tax Facts: Charitable Deductions

Tax Facts: Charitable Deductions

This year the deadline for individuals to file or request an extension is April 18 th. If you owe taxes, filing an extension does not mean you get an extension to pay.

With the tax deadline looming, individuals who gifted cash or goods to charity in 2016 may be able to claim a deduction on their federal return. Before you do there are some important facts to know before taking the deduction:

  • Qualified Charity - The donation must be made to a qualified charitable organization. Gifts to specific individuals, political organizations, social clubs and foreign organizations (certain Canadian, Israeli or Mexican charitable organizations allowed) are not deductible. Confirm with the organization their status. Beware of fake charities set up by scam artists.
  • Itemize Deductions - In order to deduct charitable contributions the taxpayer must itemize deductions.
  • Benefit in Return - If you get something in return for the donation, this may reduce the amount you are able to deduct. Taxpayers are only allowed to deduct the amount of contribution that exceeds the value of benefit received. Some examples include meals, services and sporting events. The cost of raffle or bingo tickets are not deductible as a charitable contribution. 
  • Donations of $250 or more : If you donated either cash or goods of $250 or more, then you must have written confirmation from the charity. It should show the amount of the donation, description of the gift and if any goods or services were received in exchange for the gift.

IRS Tax Tip 2017-32: Know these Facts Before Deducting a Charitable Donation

Publication 526


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