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previous page Previous Page: Publication 525 - Taxable and Nontaxable Income - How To Get Tax Help
next page Next Page: Publication 526 - Charitable Contributions - Contributions You Can Deduct
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049588
Publication 526

 
Charitable  
Contributions


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What's New(p1)


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taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink1000121028

Standard mileage rate increased for Midwestern disaster areas.(p1)

The standard mileage rate is higher if you used your car to provide relief related to the storms, tornadoes, or flooding in certain Midwestern disaster areas. See Car expenses related to Midwestern disaster areas under Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink1000121029

Mileage reimbursements related to Midwestern disaster areas.(p1)

You may not have to pay tax on any mileage reimbursements you received from a charitable organization for the costs of using your car to provide relief related to the storms, tornadoes, or flooding in certain Midwestern disaster areas. See Mileage reimbursements related to Midwestern disaster areas under Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink1000121030

Temporary suspension of limits.(p1)

Certain cash contributions you made for relief efforts in a Midwestern disaster area are not subject to the 50% limit or the overall limit on itemized deductions. See Limits on Deductions.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink1000121031

Expiring provisions extended.(p1)

The following provisions that were due to expire at the end of 2007 have been extended to contributions made in 2008 and 2009.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink1000121032

Limit on itemized deductions.(p1)

For 2008, if your adjusted gross income is more than $159,950 ($79,975 if you are married filing separately), you may have to reduce the amount of certain itemized deductions, including charitable contributions. For more information and a worksheet, see the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040).

Reminders(p2)


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taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049593

Disaster relief.(p2)

You can deduct contributions for flood relief, hurricane relief, or other disaster relief to a qualified organization (defined under Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions). However, you cannot deduct contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family.

taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#TXMP40695a8cIntroduction

This publication explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. It discusses organizations that are qualified to receive deductible charitable contributions, the types of contributions you can deduct, how much you can deduct, what records to keep, and how to report charitable contributions.
A charitable contribution is a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049594

Qualified organizations.(p2)


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Qualified organizations include nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. You will find descriptions of these organizations under Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049595

Form 1040 required.(p2)


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To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. The amount of your deduction may be limited if certain rules and limits explained in this publication apply to you.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049883

Comments and suggestions.(p2)


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We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.
You can write to us at the following address:

 
Internal Revenue Service 
Individual Forms and Publications Branch 
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:I 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224


We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.
You can email us at *taxforms@irs.gov. (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put "Publications Comment" on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049884

Ordering forms and publications.(p2)
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Visit www.irs.gov/formspubs to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

 
Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613


taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049885

Tax questions.(p2)
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If you have a tax question, check the information available on www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#TXMP63b51574

Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 78 Cumulative List of Organizations
 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property
 4492-B Information for Affected Taxpayers in the Midwestern Disaster Areas
Form (and Instructions)
 Schedule A (Form 1040): Itemized Deductions
 8283: Noncash Charitable Contributions
See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting these publications and forms.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#f15050a01

Table 1. Examples of Charitable Contributions—A Quick Check

Use the following lists for a quick check of contributions you can or cannot deduct. See the rest of this publication for more information and additional rules and limits that may apply.

Deductible As
Charitable Contributions
Not Deductible As
Charitable Contributions
Money or property you give to: 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
  • Charitable organizations listed in Publication 78

Expenses paid for a student living with you,
 sponsored by a qualified organization

Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a
 qualified organization as a volunteer
  • 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
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049599

Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions(p2)


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previous topic occurrence Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions next topic occurrence

You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. To become a qualified organization, most organizations other than churches and governments, as described below, must apply to the IRS.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049600

Publication 78.(p2)


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You can ask any organization whether it is a qualified organization, and most will be able to tell you. Or you can check IRS Publication 78, which lists most qualified organizations. You may find Publication 78 in your local library's reference section. Or you can find it on the Internet at http://www.irs.gov/app/pub-78. You can also call the IRS to find out if an organization is qualified. Call 1-877-829-5500. (For TTY/TDD help, call 1-800-829-4059.)
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049601

Types of Qualified Organizations(p3)


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Generally, only the five following types of organizations can be qualified organizations.
  1. A community chest, corporation, trust, fund, or foundation organized or created in or under the laws of the United States, any state, the District of Columbia, or any possession of the United States (including Puerto Rico). It must be organized and operated only for one or more of the following purposes.
    1. Religious.
    2. Charitable.
    3. Educational.
    4. Scientific.
    5. Literary.
    6. The prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
    Certain organizations that foster national or international amateur sports competition also qualify.
  2. War veterans' organizations, including posts, auxiliaries, trusts, or foundations, organized in the United States or any of its possessions.
  3. Domestic fraternal societies, orders, and associations operating under the lodge system. Note. Your contribution to this type of organization is deductible only if it is to be used solely for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
  4. Certain nonprofit cemetery companies or corporations. Note. Your contribution to this type of organization is not deductible if it can be used for the care of a specific lot or mausoleum crypt.
  5. The United States or any state, the District of Columbia, a U.S. possession (including Puerto Rico), a political subdivision of a state or U.S. possession, or an Indian tribal government or any of its subdivisions that perform substantial government functions. Note. To be deductible, your contribution to this type of organization must be made solely for public purposes.
    Example 1. You contribute cash to your city's police department to be used as a reward for information about a crime. The city police department is a qualified organization, and your contribution is for a public purpose. You can deduct your contribution.
    Example 2. You make a voluntary contribution to the social security trust fund, not earmarked for a specific account. Because the trust fund is part of the U.S. Government, you contributed to a qualified organization. You can deduct your contribution.
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Examples.(p3)


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The following list gives some examples of qualified organizations.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049603

Canadian charities.(p3)


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You may be able to deduct contributions to certain Canadian charitable organizations covered under an income tax treaty with Canada.
To deduct your contribution to a Canadian charity, you generally must have income from sources in Canada. See Publication 597, Information on the United States-Canada Income Tax Treaty, for information on how to figure your deduction.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049604

Mexican charities.(p3)


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You may be able to deduct contributions to certain Mexican charitable organizations under an income tax treaty with Mexico.
The organization must meet tests that are essentially the same as the tests that qualify U.S. organizations to receive deductible contributions. The organization may be able to tell you if it meets these tests.
Due date
If not, you can get general information about the tests the organization must meet by writing to the:


Internal Revenue Service 
International Section 
P.O. Box 920 
Bensalem, PA 19020-8518.


 
To deduct your contribution to a Mexican charity, you must have income from sources in Mexico. The limits described in Limits on Deductions, later, apply and are figured using your income from Mexican sources. Those limits also apply to all your charitable contributions, as described in that discussion.
taxmap/pubs/p526-000.htm#en_us_publink100049606

Israeli charities.(p3)


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You may be able to deduct contributions to certain Israeli charitable organizations under an income tax treaty with Israel. To qualify for the deduction, your contribution must be made to an organization created and recognized as a charitable organization under the laws of Israel. The deduction will be allowed in the amount that would be allowed if the organization was created under the laws of the United States, but is limited to 25% of your adjusted gross income from Israeli sources.
previous pagePrevious Page: Publication 525 - Taxable and Nontaxable Income - How To Get Tax Help
next pageNext Page: Publication 526 - Charitable Contributions - Contributions You Can Deduct
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication