skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040)
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP652981b1

Gifts to Charity(p8)

rule
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 2010 for Native Alaskan subsistence bowhead whale hunting activities. See Pub. 526 for details.
To verify an organization's charitable status, you can:
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP4473c01c

Examples of Qualified Charitable Organizations(p8)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP11a4d00a

Contributions You Can Deduct(p8)

rule
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. 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/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP2146fed2
Gifts from which you benefit.(p8)
rule
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.

Example.(p8)

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/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP41b264b5
Gifts of $250 or more.(p8)
rule
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) next.
  1. The amount of any money contributed and a description (but not value) of any property donated.
  2. 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.
taxtip
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.
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP1d045ae9
Limit on the amount you can deduct.(p8)
rule
See Pub. 526 to figure the amount of your deduction if any of the following applies.
  1. Your cash contributions or contributions of ordinary income property are more than 30% of the amount on Form 1040, line 38.
  2. Your gifts of capital gain property are more than 20% of the amount on Form 1040, line 38.
  3. You gave gifts of property that increased in value or gave gifts of the use of property.
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP68ec9059

Contributions You Cannot Deduct(p9)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP3a923844

Line 16(p9)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP156564bb

Gifts by Cash or Check(p9)

rule
caution
If you contributed money for the relief of victims in areas affected by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti and chose to deduct those amounts on your 2009 return instead of your 2010 return, do not include those amounts again on line 16.
Enter on line 16 the total gifts you made in cash or by check (including out-of-pocket expenses).
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP26817d0c
Recordkeeping.(p9)
rule
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/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP32103543
Haiti relief contributions.(p9)
If you made a contribution by phone or text message for the relief of victims in areas affected by the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, you can satisfy the recordkeeping requirement if you have a telephone bill showing the name of the donee organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP724d4cdf

Line 17(p9)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP63f80739

Other Than by Cash or Check(p9)

rule
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 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.
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP2872f0b9
Contributions of clothing and household items.(p9)
rule
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/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP327b1907
Recordkeeping.(p9)
rule
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:
caution
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.
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP0c9376e4

Line 18(p9)

rule
taxmap/instr/i1040sca-004.htm#TXMP572a3412

Carryover From Prior Year(p9)

rule
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.