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Publication 526



What's New(p1)


Haiti relief.(p1)

If you made a cash contribution after January 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010, for the relief of the victims of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, and you deducted that contribution on your 2009 return, you cannot deduct it on your 2010 return.



Disaster relief.(p1)

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.


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.

Qualified organizations.(p1)

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.

Form 1040 required.(p1)

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.

Comments and suggestions.(p2)

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 
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 * (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.
Ordering forms and publications.(p2)
Visit 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

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


Useful items

You may want to see:

 78 Cumulative List of Organizations
 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property
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.

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
  • Federal, state, and local
    governments, if your contribution is
    solely for public purposes (for
    example, a gift to reduce the public
  • 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
  • Out-of-pocket expenses when you
    serve a qualified organization as a volunteer
  • Civic leagues, social and sports
    clubs, labor unions, and chambers of
  • Foreign organizations (except certain
    Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican
  • Groups that are run for personal
  • 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

Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions(p2)

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 later, must apply to the IRS.

Publication 78.(p2)

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 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.)

Types of Qualified Organizations(p2)

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.


The following list gives some examples of qualified organizations.

Canadian charities.(p3)

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.

Mexican charities.(p3)

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 
Philadelphia, PA 19255-0725

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.

Israeli charities.(p3)

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.