For 2009, the total of your charitable contributions deduction and certain other itemized deductions may be limited if your adjusted gross income is more than $166,800 ($83,400 if you are married filing separately). This is in addition to the other limits described here. See the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) for more information about this limit.
If your total contributions for the year are 20% or less of your adjusted gross income, you do not need to read the rest of this section. The limits discussed in the rest of this section do not apply to you.
The amount of your deduction for charitable contributions is limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income, and may be limited to 30% or 20% of your adjusted gross income, depending on the type of property you give and the type of organization you give it to. A different limit applies to certain qualified conservation contributions. These limits are described in detail in this section.
Your adjusted gross income is the amount on Form 1040, line 38.
If your contributions are more than any of the limits that apply, see Carryovers under How To Figure Your Deduction When Limits Apply, later.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229803
Amounts you spend performing services for a charitable organization, which qualify as charitable contributions, are subject to the limit of the organization. For example, the 50% limit applies to amounts you spend on behalf of a church, a 50% limit organization. These amounts are considered a contribution to a qualified organization. taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229804
The 50% limit applies to the total of all charitable contributions you make during the year. This means that your deduction for charitable contributions cannot be more than 50% of your adjusted gross income for the year. But there is a higher limit, discussed later, for certain qualified conservation contributions.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229805
The 50% limit is the only limit that applies to gifts to organizations listed below under 50% Limit Organizations. But there is one exception.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229806
A special 30% limit also applies to these gifts if they are gifts of capital gain property for which you figure your deduction using fair market value without reduction for appreciation. (See Special 30% Limit for Capital Gain Property, later.) taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229807
You can ask any organization whether it is a 50% limit organization, and most will be able to tell you. Or you may check IRS Publication 78 (described earlier).
Only the following types of organizations are 50% limit organizations.
- Churches and conventions or associations of churches.
- Educational organizations with a regular faculty and curriculum that normally have a regularly enrolled student body attending classes on site.
- Hospitals and certain medical research organizations associated with these hospitals.
- Organizations that are operated only to receive, hold, invest, and administer property and to make expenditures to or for the benefit of state and municipal colleges and universities and that normally receive substantial support from the United States or any state or their political subdivisions, or from the general public.
- 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.
- Corporations, trusts, or community chests, funds, or foundations organized and operated only for charitable, religious, educational, scientific, or literary purposes, or to prevent cruelty to children or animals, or to foster certain national or international amateur sports competition. These organizations must be "publicly supported," which means they normally must receive a substantial part of their support, other than income from their exempt activities, from direct or indirect contributions from the general public or from governmental units.
- Organizations that may not qualify as "publicly supported" under (6) but that meet other tests showing they respond to the needs of the general public, not a limited number of donors or other persons. They must normally receive more than one-third of their support either from organizations described in (1) through (6), or from persons other than "disqualified persons."
- Most organizations operated or controlled by, and operated for the benefit of, those organizations described in (1) through (7).
- Private operating foundation.
- Private nonoperating foundations that make qualifying distributions of 100% of contributions within 21/2 months following the year they receive the contribution. A deduction for charitable contributions to any of these private nonoperating foundations must be supported by evidence from the foundation confirming that it made the qualifying distributions timely. Attach a copy of this supporting data to your tax return.
- A private foundation whose contributions are pooled into a common fund, if the foundation would be described in (8) above but for the right of substantial contributors to name the public charities that receive contributions from the fund. The foundation must distribute the common fund's income within 21/2 months following the tax year in which it was realized and must distribute the corpus not later than 1 year after the donor's death (or after the death of the donor's surviving spouse if the spouse can name the recipients of the corpus).
A 30% limit applies to the following gifts.
- Gifts to all qualified organizations other than 50% limit organizations. This includes gifts to veterans' organizations, fraternal societies, nonprofit cemeteries, and certain private nonoperating foundations.
- Gifts for the use of any organization.
However, if these gifts are of capital gain property, they are subject to the 20% limit, described later, rather than the 30% limit.
Amounts you spend on behalf of a student living with you are subject to the 30% limit. These amounts are considered a contribution for the use of a qualified organization. See Expenses Paid for Student Living With You, earlier.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229810
A special 30% limit applies to gifts of capital gain property to 50% limit organizations. (For gifts of capital gain property to other organizations, see 20% Limit, next.) However, the special 30% limit does not apply when you choose to reduce the fair market value of the property by the amount that would have been long-term capital gain if you had sold the property. Instead, only the 50% limit applies. See Capital Gain Property, earlier, and Capital gain property election under How To Figure Your Deduction When Limits Apply, later.
Also, the special 30% limit does not apply to qualified conservation contributions, discussed later.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229811
This special 30% limit for capital gain property is separate from the other 30% limit. Therefore, the deduction of a contribution subject to one 30% limit does not reduce the amount you can deduct for contributions subject to the other 30% limit. However, the total you deduct cannot be more than 50% of your adjusted gross income.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229812
Your adjusted gross income is $50,000. During the year, you gave capital gain property with a fair market value of $15,000 to a 50% limit organization. You do not choose to reduce the property's fair market value by its appreciation in value. You also gave $10,000 cash to a qualified organization that is not a 50% limit organization. The $15,000 gift of property is subject to the special 30% limit. The $10,000 cash gift is subject to the other 30% limit. Both gifts are fully deductible because neither is more than the 30% limit that applies ($15,000 in each case) and together they are not more than the 50% limit ($25,000).taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229813
The 20% limit applies to all gifts of capital gain property to or for the use of qualified organizations (other than gifts of capital gain property to 50% limit organizations). taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229814
Your deduction for qualified conservation contributions (QCCs) is limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income minus your deduction for all other charitable contributions. You can carry over any contributions you are not able to deduct for 2009 because of this limit. See Carryovers, later.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229815
If you are a qualified farmer or rancher, your deduction for QCCs is limited to 100%, rather than 50%, of your adjusted gross income minus your deduction for all other charitable contributions. However, if the donated property is used in agriculture or livestock production (or is available for such production), the contribution must be subject to a restriction that the property remain available for such production. If not, the limit is 50%.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229816
You are a qualified farmer or rancher if your gross income from the trade or business of farming is more than 50% of your gross income for the year.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229817
If your contributions are subject to more than one of the limits just discussed, you can deduct them as follows.
- Contributions subject only to the 50% limit, up to 50% of your adjusted gross income.
- Contributions subject to the 30% limit, up to the lesser of:
- 30% of adjusted gross income, or
- 50% of adjusted gross income minus your contributions to 50% limit organizations, including contributions of capital gain property subject to the special 30% limit.
- Contributions of capital gain property subject to the special 30% limit, up to the lesser of:
- 30% of adjusted gross income, or
- 50% of adjusted gross income minus your other contributions to 50% limit organizations.
- Contributions subject to the 20% limit, up to the lesser of:
- 20% of adjusted gross income,
- 30% of adjusted gross income minus your contributions subject to the 30% limit,
- 30% of adjusted gross income minus your contributions of capital gain property subject to the special 30% limit, or
- 50% of adjusted gross income minus the total of your contributions to 50% limit organizations and your contributions subject to the 30% limit.
- Qualified conservation contributions (QCCs) subject to the special 50% limit, up to 50% of adjusted gross income minus any contributions in (1) through (4) above.
- QCCs subject to the 100% limit for farmers and ranchers, up to 100% of adjusted gross income minus any contributions in (1) through (5) above.
If more than one of the limits described above limit your deduction for charitable contributions, you may want to use Worksheet 2 on page 15 to figure your deduction and your carryover.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229818
Your adjusted gross income is $50,000. In March, you gave your church $2,000 cash and land with a fair market value of $28,000 and a basis of $22,000. You held the land for investment purposes. You do not choose to reduce the fair market value of the land by the appreciation in value. You also gave $5,000 cash to a private foundation to which the 30% limit applies.
The $2,000 cash donated to the church is considered first and is fully deductible. Your contribution to the private foundation is considered next. Because your contributions to 50% limit organizations ($2,000 + $28,000) are more than $25,000 (50% of $50,000), your contribution to the private foundation is not deductible for the year. It can be carried over to later years. See Carryovers, later. The gift of land is considered next. Your deduction for the land is limited to $15,000 (30% × $50,000). The unused part of the gift of land ($13,000) can be carried over. For this year, your deduction is limited to $17,000 ($2,000 + $15,000).
A Filled-In Worksheet 2 on page 16 shows this computation in detail.
taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#TXMP47408a7eWorksheet 2. Applying the Deduction Limits taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229820taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229821
You may choose the 50% limit for gifts of capital gain property to 50% limit organizations instead of the 30% limit that would otherwise apply. If you make this choice, you must reduce the fair market value of the property contributed by the appreciation in value that would have been long-term capital gain if the property had been sold.
This choice applies to all capital gain property contributed to 50% limit organizations during a tax year. It also applies to carryovers of this kind of contribution from an earlier tax year. For details, see Carryover of capital gain property, later.
You must make the choice on your original return or on an amended return filed by the due date for filing the original return. taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229822
In the previous example, if you choose to have the 50% limit apply to the land (the 30% capital gain property) given to your church, you must reduce the fair market value of the property by the appreciation in value. Therefore, the amount of your charitable contribution for the land would be its basis to you of $22,000. You add this amount to the $2,000 cash contributed to the church. You can now deduct $1,000 of the amount donated to the private foundation because your contributions to 50% limit organizations ($2,000 + $22,000) are $1,000 less than the 50%-of-adjusted-gross-income limit. Your total deduction for the year is $25,000 ($2,000 cash to your church, $22,000 for property donated to your church, and $1,000 cash to the private foundation). You can carry over to later years the part of your contribution to the private foundation that you could not deduct ($4,000).taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229823
You can use Worksheet 2 if you made charitable contributions during the year, and one or more of the limits described in this publication under Limits on Deductions apply to you. You cannot use this worksheet if you have a carryover of a charitable contribution from an earlier year. If you have a carryover from an earlier year, see Carryovers, next.
The following list gives instructions for completing the worksheet.
- The terms used in the worksheet are explained earlier in this publication.
- If the result on any line is less than zero, enter zero.
- For contributions of property, enter the property's fair market value unless you elected (or were required) to reduce the fair market value as explained under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value. In that case, enter the reduced amount.
You can carry over your contributions that you are not able to deduct in the current year because they exceed your adjusted-gross-income limits. You can deduct the excess in each of the next 5 years until it is used up, but not beyond that time. Your total contributions deduction for the year to which you carry your contributions cannot exceed 50% of your adjusted gross income for that year.
A carryover of a qualified conservation contribution can be carried forward for 15 years.
Contributions you carry over are subject to the same percentage limits in the year to which they are carried. For example, contributions subject to the 20% limit in the year in which they are made are 20% limit contributions in the year to which they are carried.
For each category of contributions, you deduct carryover contributions only after deducting all allowable contributions in that category for the current year. If you have carryovers from 2 or more prior years, use the carryover from the earlier year first.
A carryover of a contribution to a 50% limit organization must be used before contributions in the current year to organizations other than 50% limit organizations. See Example 2
on this page.
Last year, you made cash contributions of $11,000 to which the 50% limit applies, but because of the limit you deducted only $10,000 and carried over $1,000 to this year. This year, your adjusted gross income is $20,000 and you made cash contributions of $9,500 to which the 50% limit applies. You can deduct $10,000 (50% of $20,000) this year. Consequently, in addition to your contribution of $9,500 for this year, you can deduct $500 of your carryover contribution from last year. You can carry over the $500 balance of your carryover from last year to next year.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229827
This year, your adjusted gross income is $24,000. You make cash contributions of $6,000 to which the 50% limit applies and $3,000 to which the 30% limit applies. You have a contribution carryover from last year of $5,000 for capital gain property contributed to a 50% limit organization and subject to the special 30% limit for contributions of capital gain property.
Your contribution deduction for this year is limited to $12,000 (50% of $24,000). Your 50% limit cash contributions of $6,000 are fully deductible.
The deduction for your 30% limit contributions of $3,000 is limited to $1,000. This is the lesser of:
- $7,200 (30% of $24,000), or
- $1,000 ($12,000 minus $11,000).
(The $12,000 amount is 50% of $24,000, your adjusted gross income. The $11,000 amount is the sum of your current and carryover contributions to 50% limit organizations, $6,000 + $5,000.)
The deduction for your $5,000 carryover is subject to the special 30% limit for contributions of capital gain property. This means it is limited to the smaller of:
- $7,200 (your 30% limit), or
- $6,000 ($12,000, your 50% limit, minus $6,000, the amount of your cash contributions to 50% limit organizations this year).
Since your $5,000 carryover is less than both $7,200 and $6,000, you can deduct it in full.
Your deduction is $12,000 ($6,000 + $1,000 + $5,000). You carry over the $2,000 balance of your 30% limit contributions for this year to next year.taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229828
If you carry over contributions of capital gain property subject to the special 30% limit and you choose in the next year to use the 50% limit and take appreciation into account, you must refigure the carryover. You reduce the fair market value of the property by the appreciation and reduce that result by the amount actually deducted in the previous year. taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229829
Last year, your adjusted gross income was $50,000 and you contributed capital gain property valued at $27,000 to a 50% limit organization and did not choose to use the 50% limit. Your basis in the property was $20,000. Your deduction was limited to $15,000 (30% of $50,000), and you carried over $12,000. This year, your adjusted gross income is $60,000 and you contribute capital gain property valued at $25,000 to a 50% limit organization. Your basis in the property is $24,000 and you choose to use the 50% limit. You must refigure your carryover as if you had taken appreciation into account last year as well as this year. Because the amount of your contribution last year would have been $20,000 (the property's basis) instead of the $15,000 you actually deducted, your refigured carryover is $5,000 ($20,000 − $15,000). Your total deduction this year is $29,000 (your $24,000 current contribution plus your $5,000 carryover).taxmap/pubs/p526-005.htm#en_us_publink1000229830
Special rules exist for computing carryovers if you:
- Were married in some years but not others,
- Had different spouses in different years,
- Change from a separate return to a joint return in a later year,
- Change from a joint return to a separate return in a later year,
- Had a net operating loss,
- Claim the standard deduction in a carryover year, or
- Become a widow or widower.
Because of their complexity and the limited number of taxpayers to whom these additional rules apply, they are not discussed in this publication. If you need to compute a carryover and you are in one of these situations, you may want to consult with a tax practitioner.