You can deduct contributions or gifts you gave to organizations that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose. You can also deduct what you gave to organizations that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. Certain whaling captains may be able to deduct expenses paid in 2008 for Native Alaskan subsistence bowhead whale hunting activities. See Pub. 526 for details.
To verify an organization's charitable status, you can:
- Check with the organization to which you made the donation. The organization should be able to provide you with verification of its charitable status.
- See Pub. 78 for a list of most qualified organizations. You can access Pub. 78 on the IRS website at www.irs.gov under then
- Call our Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500.
- Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, etc.
- Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, CARE, Girl Scouts, Goodwill Industries, Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, etc.
- Fraternal orders, if the gifts will be used for the purposes listed earlier on this page.
- Veterans' and certain cultural groups.
- Nonprofit schools, hospitals, and organizations whose purpose is to find a cure for, or help people who have, arthritis, asthma, birth defects, cancer, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, heart disease, hemophilia, mental illness or retardation, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, tuberculosis, etc.
- Federal, state, and local governments if the gifts are solely for public purposes.
Contributions can be in cash, property, or out-of-pocket expenses you paid to do volunteer work for the kinds of organizations described earlier. If you drove to and from the volunteer work, you can take the actual cost of gas and oil or 14 cents a mile. But, if the volunteer work was to provide relief related to a Midwestern disaster area, the amount is 36 cents a mile (41 cents a mile after June 30, 2008), see Pub. 4492-B for more details. Add parking and tolls to the amount you claim under either method. But do not deduct any amounts that were repaid to you.taxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP720a4c2d
If you made a gift and received a benefit in return, such as food, entertainment, or merchandise, you can generally only deduct the amount that is more than the value of the benefit. But this rule does not apply to certain membership benefits provided in return for an annual payment of $75 or less or to certain items or benefits of token value. For details, see Pub. 526.
You paid $70 to a charitable organization to attend a fund-raising dinner and the value of the dinner was $40. You can deduct only $30.taxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP3fb25405
You can deduct a gift of $250 or more only if you have a statement from the charitable organization showing the information in (1) and (2) below.
- The amount of any money contributed and a description (but not value) of any property donated.
- Whether the organization did or did not give you any goods or services in return for your contribution. If you did receive any goods or services, a description and estimate of the value must be included. If you received only intangible religious benefits (such as admission to a religious ceremony), the organization must state this, but it does not have to describe or value the benefit.
In figuring whether a gift is $250 or more, do not combine separate donations. For example, if you gave your church $25 each week for a total of $1,300, treat each $25 payment as a separate gift. If you made donations through payroll deductions, treat each deduction from each paycheck as a separate gift. See Pub. 526 if you made a separate gift of $250 or more through payroll deduction.
You must get the statement by the date you file your return or the due date (including extensions) for filing your return, whichever is earlier. Do not attach the statement to your return. Instead, keep it for your records.
See Pub. 526 to figure the amount of your deduction if any of the following applies.
- Your cash contributions or contributions of ordinary income property are more than 30% of the amount on Form 1040, line 38.
- Your gifts of capital gain property are more than 20% of the amount on Form 1040, line 38.
- You gave gifts of property that increased in value or gave gifts of the use of property.
The limit described in item (1) above does not apply to certain cash contributions paid for relief efforts in a Midwestern disaster area if you elect to treat those contributions as qualified contributions. See Pub. 526 for details.
- Travel expenses (including meals and lodging) while away from home, unless there was no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel.
- Political contributions.
- Dues, fees, or bills paid to country clubs, lodges, fraternal orders, or similar groups.
- Cost of raffle, bingo, or lottery tickets. But you may be able to deduct these expenses on line 28. See the instructions on page A-10 for details.
- Cost of tuition. But you may be able to deduct this expense on line 21 (see page A-9), or Form 1040, line 34, or take a credit for this expense (see Form 8863).
- Value of your time or services.
- Value of blood given to a blood bank.
- The transfer of a future interest in tangible personal property (generally, until the entire interest has been transferred).
- Gifts to individuals and groups that are run for personal profit.
- Gifts to foreign organizations. But you may be able to deduct gifts to certain U.S. organizations that transfer funds to foreign charities and certain Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican charities. See Pub. 526 for details.
- Gifts to organizations engaged in certain political activities that are of direct financial interest to your trade or business. See section 170(f)(9).
- Gifts to groups whose purpose is to lobby for changes in the laws.
- Gifts to civic leagues, social and sports clubs, labor unions, and chambers of commerce.
- Value of benefits received in connection with a contribution to a charitable organization. See Pub. 526 for exceptions.
Enter on line 16 the total gifts you made in cash or by check (including out-of-pocket expenses).taxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP63f20c5e
For any contribution made in cash, regardless of the amount, you must maintain as a record of the contribution a bank record (such as a canceled check or credit card statement) or a written record from the charity. The written record must include the name of the charity, date, and amount of the contribution. If you made contributions through payroll deduction, see Pub. 526 for information on the records you must keep. Do not attach the record to your tax return. Instead, keep it with your other tax records.taxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP3db8d65etaxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP58b99d80
Enter your contributions of property. If you gave used items, such as clothing or furniture, deduct their fair market value at the time you gave them. Fair market value is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller when neither has to buy or sell and both are aware of the conditions of the sale. For more details on determining the value of donated property, see Pub. 561.
If the amount of your deduction is more than $500, you must complete and attach Form 8283. For this purpose, the taxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP26e92575
amount of your deduction means your deduction before applying any income limits that could result in a carryover of contributions. If you deduct more than $500 for a contribution of a motor vehicle, boat, or airplane, you must also attach a statement from the charitable organization to your return. The organization may use Form 1098-C to provide the required information. If your total deduction is over $5,000, you may also have to get appraisals of the values of the donated property. This amount is $500 for certain contributions of clothing and household items (see below). See Form 8283 and its instructions for details.
A deduction for these contributions will be allowed only if the items are in good used condition or better. However, this rule does not apply to a contribution of any single item for which a deduction of more than $500 is claimed and for which you include a qualified appraisal and Form 8283 with your tax return.taxmap/instr/i1040sa-004.htm#TXMP664e5747
If you gave property, you should keep a receipt or written statement from the organization you gave the property to, or a reliable written record, that shows the organization's name and address, the date and location of the gift, and a description of the property. For each gift of property, you should also keep reliable written records that include:
- How you figured the property's value at the time you gave it. If the value was determined by an appraisal, keep a signed copy of the appraisal.
- The cost or other basis of the property if you must reduce it by any ordinary income or capital gain that would have resulted if the property had been sold at its fair market value.
- How you figured your deduction if you chose to reduce your deduction for gifts of capital gain property.
- Any conditions attached to the gift.
If your total deduction for gifts of property is over $500, you gave less than your entire interest in the property, or you made a
qualified conservation contribution, your records should contain additional information. See Pub. 526 for details.
Enter any carryover of contributions that you could not deduct in an earlier year because they exceeded your adjusted gross income limit. See Pub. 526 for details.