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Publication 17

Chapter 24

This chapter explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. It discusses the following topics.
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.

Form 1040 required.(p162)

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 chapter apply to you.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 78 Cumulative List of Organizations
 526 Charitable Contributions
 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property
Form (and Instructions)
 Schedule A (Form 1040): Itemized Deductions
 8283: Noncash Charitable Contributions

Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions(p162)

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.
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 can find Publication 78 on the Internet at You can also call the IRS at 1-877-829-5500 to find out if an organization is qualified. (For TTY/TDD help, call 1-800-829-4059).

Types of Qualified Organizations(p162)

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.


The following list gives some examples of qualified organizations.

Foreign charitable organizations.(p163)

For information on the deduction of contributions to Canadian charities, see Publication 597, Information on the United States–Canada Income Tax Treaty. For information on the deductibility of contributions to other foreign charities, see Publication 526.