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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.(p160)

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. The limits are explained in detail in Publication 526.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 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(p160)

You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. Most organizations other than churches and governments must apply to the IRS to become a qualified organization.

How to check whether an organization can receive deductible charitable contributions.(p160)

You can ask any organization whether it is a qualified organization, and most will be able to tell you. Or go to Click on "Tools" and then on "Exempt Organizations Select Check" ( This online tool will enable you to search for qualified organizations. You can also call the IRS to find out if an organization is qualified. Call 1-877-829-5500. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. Deaf or hard of hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service at

Types of Qualified Organizations(p160)

Generally, only the 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, however, be organized and operated only for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for 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 (including Puerto Rico).
  3. Domestic fraternal societies, orders, and associations operating under the lodge system. (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. (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. (Your contribution to this type of organization is only deductible if it is to be used solely for public purposes.)


The following list gives some examples of qualified organizations.

Certain foreign charitable organizations.(p160)

Under income tax treaties with Canada, Israel, and Mexico, you may be able to deduct contributions to certain Canadian, Israeli, or Mexican charitable organizations. Generally, you must have income from sources in that country. For additional information on the deduction of contributions to Canadian charities, see Publication 597, Information on the United States–Canada Income Tax Treaty. If you need more information on how to figure your contribution to Mexican and Israeli charities, see Publication 526.