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Free tax filing online Publication 556 - Additional Material Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications

Topic 506 - Charitable Contributions

Charitable contributions are deductible only if you itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A (PDF).

To be deductible, charitable contributions must be made to qualified organizations. Payments to individuals are never deductible. See Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. To determine if the organization that you have contributed to qualifies as a charitable organization for income tax deductions, review Exempt Organizations Select Check on the IRS.gov website.

If your contribution entitles you to merchandise, goods, or services, including admission to a charity ball, banquet, theatrical performance, or sporting event, you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received.

For a contribution of cash, check, or other monetary gift (regardless of amount), you must maintain as a record of the contribution a bank record or a written communication from the qualified organization containing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. In addition to deducting your cash contributions, you generally can deduct the fair market value of any other property you donate to qualified organizations. See Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property. For any contribution of $250 or more (including contributions of cash or property), you must obtain and keep in your records a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the qualified organization indicating the amount of the cash and a description of any property contributed. The acknowledgment must say whether the organization provided any goods or services in exchange for the gift and, if so, must provide a description and a good faith estimate of the value of those goods or services. One document from the qualified organization may satisfy both the written communication requirement for monetary gifts and the contemporaneous written acknowledgment requirement for all contributions of $250 or more.

You must fill out Form 8283 (PDF), and attach it to your return, if your deduction for a noncash contribution is more than $500. If you claim a deduction for a contribution of noncash property worth $5,000 or less, you must fill out Form 8283, Section A. If you claim a deduction for a contribution of noncash property worth more than $5,000, you will need a qualified appraisal of the noncash property and must fill out Form 8283, Section B. If you claim a deduction for a contribution of noncash property worth more than $500,000, you also will need to attach the qualified appraisal to your return.

Special rules apply to donations of certain types of property such as automobiles, inventory and investments that have appreciated in value. For more information, refer to Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. For information on determining the value of your noncash contributions, refer to Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: December 12, 2013

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Free tax filing online Publication 4492-A - Introductory Material Table of Contents Introduction Useful Items - You may want to see: Introduction This publication explains the temporary tax relief provided by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 for taxpayers in Kiowa County, Kansas, and surrounding areas, who were affected by the storms and tornadoes that began on May 4, 2007. Free tax filing online Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 536 Net Operating Losses (NOLs) for Individuals, Estates, and Trusts 547 Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts 590 Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) 946 How To Depreciate Property Form (and Instructions) 4506Request for Copy of Tax Return 4506-TRequest for Transcript of Tax Return 4684Casualties and Thefts 5884-ACredits for Employers Affected by Hurricane Katrina, Rita, or Wilma 8606Nondeductible IRAs 8915Qualified Hurricane Retirement Plan Distributions and Repayments See How To Get Tax Help on page 14 for information about getting publications and forms. Free tax filing online Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications