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Tax Tips For 2012

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Tax Tips For 2012

Tax tips for 2012 Index A Assistance (see Help) C Casualty and theft losses, Casualty and Theft Losses Clean-up costs, Demolition and Clean-up Costs Copy of tax return, request for, Request for copy of tax return. Tax tips for 2012 Credits: Employee retention, Employee Retention Credit D Demolition costs, Demolition and Clean-up Costs Depreciation: Qualified recovery assistance property, Qualified recovery assistance property. Tax tips for 2012 Special allowance, Special Depreciation Allowance Disaster area: May 4, 2007 storms and tornadoes, Kansas Disaster Area Distributions: Home purchase or construction, Repayment of Qualified Distributions for the Purchase or Construction of a Main Home Qualified recovery assistance, Qualified recovery assistance distribution. Tax tips for 2012 Repayment of, Repayment of Qualified Recovery Assistance Distributions Taxation of, Taxation of Qualified Recovery Assistance Distributions E Eligible retirement plan, Eligible retirement plan. Tax tips for 2012 Employee retention credit, Employee Retention Credit F Free tax services, How To Get Tax Help H Help: How to get, How To Get Tax Help Phone number, How To Get Tax Help Special IRS assistance, How To Get Tax Help Website, How To Get Tax Help I Involuntary conversion (see Replacement period for nonrecognition of gain) IRAs and other retirement plans, IRAs and Other Retirement Plans K Kansas disaster area, Kansas Disaster Area M More information (see Tax help) N Net operating losses, Net Operating Losses P Publications (see Tax help) Q Qualified recovery assistance distribution, Qualified recovery assistance distribution. Tax tips for 2012 Qualified recovery assistance loss, Qualified recovery assistance loss. Tax tips for 2012 R Replacement period for nonrecognition of gain, Replacement Period for Nonrecognition of Gain Retirement plan, eligible, Eligible retirement plan. Tax tips for 2012 Retirement plans, IRAs and Other Retirement Plans S Section 179 deduction, Increased Section 179 Deduction Storms and tornadoes, Storms and Tornadoes T Tax help, How To Get Tax Help (see Help) Tax return: Request for copy, Request for copy of tax return. Tax tips for 2012 Request for transcript, Request for transcript of tax return. Tax tips for 2012 Taxpayer Advocate, Contacting your Taxpayer Advocate. Tax tips for 2012 Theft losses, Casualty and Theft Losses Transcript of tax return, request for, Request for transcript of tax return. Tax tips for 2012 TTY/TDD information, How To Get Tax Help Prev  Up     Home   More Online Publications
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The Tax Tips For 2012

Tax tips for 2012 24. Tax tips for 2012   Contributions Table of Contents Introduction Useful Items - You may want to see: Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible ContributionsTypes of Qualified Organizations Contributions You Can DeductContributions From Which You Benefit Expenses Paid for Student Living With You Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services Contributions You Cannot DeductContributions to Individuals Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations Contributions From Which You Benefit Value of Time or Services Personal Expenses Appraisal Fees Contributions of PropertyException. Tax tips for 2012 Household items. Tax tips for 2012 Deduction more than $500. Tax tips for 2012 Form 1098-C. Tax tips for 2012 Filing deadline approaching and still no Form 1098-C. Tax tips for 2012 Exception 1—vehicle used or improved by organization. Tax tips for 2012 Exception 2—vehicle given or sold to needy individual. Tax tips for 2012 Deduction $500 or less. Tax tips for 2012 Right to use property. Tax tips for 2012 Tangible personal property. Tax tips for 2012 Future interest. Tax tips for 2012 Determining Fair Market Value Giving Property That Has Decreased in Value Giving Property That Has Increased in Value When To DeductChecks. Tax tips for 2012 Text message. Tax tips for 2012 Credit card. Tax tips for 2012 Pay-by-phone account. Tax tips for 2012 Stock certificate. Tax tips for 2012 Promissory note. Tax tips for 2012 Option. Tax tips for 2012 Borrowed funds. Tax tips for 2012 Limits on DeductionsCarryovers Records To KeepCash Contributions Noncash Contributions Out-of-Pocket Expenses How To Report Introduction This chapter explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. Tax tips for 2012 It discusses the following topics. Tax tips for 2012 The types of organizations to which you can make deductible charitable contributions. Tax tips for 2012 The types of contributions you can deduct. Tax tips for 2012 How much you can deduct. Tax tips for 2012 What records you must keep. Tax tips for 2012 How to report your charitable contributions. Tax tips for 2012 A charitable contribution is a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value. Tax tips for 2012 Form 1040 required. Tax tips for 2012    To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Tax tips for 2012 The amount of your deduction may be limited if certain rules and limits explained in this chapter apply to you. Tax tips for 2012 The limits are explained in detail in Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 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 You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 Most organizations other than churches and governments must apply to the IRS to become a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 How to check whether an organization can receive deductible charitable contributions. Tax tips for 2012   You can ask any organization whether it is a qualified organization, and most will be able to tell you. Tax tips for 2012 Or go to IRS. Tax tips for 2012 gov. Tax tips for 2012 Click on “Tools” and then on “Exempt Organizations Select Check” (www. Tax tips for 2012 irs. Tax tips for 2012 gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check). Tax tips for 2012 This online tool will enable you to search for qualified organizations. Tax tips for 2012 You can also call the IRS to find out if an organization is qualified. Tax tips for 2012 Call 1-877-829-5500. Tax tips for 2012 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. Tax tips for 2012 Deaf or hard of hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service at www. Tax tips for 2012 gsa. Tax tips for 2012 gov/fedrelay. Tax tips for 2012 Types of Qualified Organizations Generally, only the following types of organizations can be qualified organizations. Tax tips for 2012 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). Tax tips for 2012 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. Tax tips for 2012 Certain organizations that foster national or international amateur sports competition also qualify. Tax tips for 2012 War veterans' organizations, including posts, auxiliaries, trusts, or foundations, organized in the United States or any of its possessions (including Puerto Rico). Tax tips for 2012 Domestic fraternal societies, orders, and associations operating under the lodge system. Tax tips for 2012 (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. Tax tips for 2012 ) Certain nonprofit cemetery companies or corporations. Tax tips for 2012 (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. Tax tips for 2012 ) The United States or any state, the District of Columbia, a U. Tax tips for 2012 S. Tax tips for 2012 possession (including Puerto Rico), a political subdivision of a state or U. Tax tips for 2012 S. Tax tips for 2012 possession, or an Indian tribal government or any of its subdivisions that perform substantial government functions. Tax tips for 2012 (Your contribution to this type of organization is only deductible if it is to be used solely for public purposes. Tax tips for 2012 ) Examples. Tax tips for 2012    The following list gives some examples of qualified organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Churches, a convention or association of churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Most nonprofit charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross and the United Way. Tax tips for 2012 Most nonprofit educational organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, colleges, and museums. Tax tips for 2012 This also includes nonprofit daycare centers that provide childcare to the general public if substantially all the childcare is provided to enable parents and guardians to be gainfully employed. Tax tips for 2012 However, if your contribution is a substitute for tuition or other enrollment fee, it is not deductible as a charitable contribution, as explained later under Contributions You Cannot Deduct . Tax tips for 2012 Nonprofit hospitals and medical research organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Utility company emergency energy programs, if the utility company is an agent for a charitable organization that assists individuals with emergency energy needs. Tax tips for 2012 Nonprofit volunteer fire companies. Tax tips for 2012 Nonprofit organizations that develop and maintain public parks and recreation facilities. Tax tips for 2012 Civil defense organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Certain foreign charitable organizations. Tax tips for 2012   Under income tax treaties with Canada, Israel, and Mexico, you may be able to deduct contributions to certain Canadian, Israeli, or Mexican charitable organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Generally, you must have income from sources in that country. Tax tips for 2012 For additional information on the deduction of contributions to Canadian charities, see Publication 597, Information on the United States–Canada Income Tax Treaty. Tax tips for 2012 If you need more information on how to figure your contribution to Mexican and Israeli charities, see Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions You Can Deduct Generally, you can deduct contributions of money or property you make to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 A contribution is “for the use of” a qualified organization when it is held in a legally enforceable trust for the qualified organization or in a similar legal arrangement. Tax tips for 2012 The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person. Tax tips for 2012 If you give property to a qualified organization, you generally can deduct the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 See Contributions of Property , later in this chapter. Tax tips for 2012 Your deduction for charitable contributions generally cannot be more than 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), but in some cases 20% and 30% limits may apply. Tax tips for 2012 See Limits on Deductions , later. Tax tips for 2012 In addition, the total of your charitable contribution deduction and certain other itemized deductions may be limited. Tax tips for 2012 See chapter 29. Tax tips for 2012 Table 24-1 gives examples of contributions you can and cannot deduct. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions From Which You Benefit If you receive a benefit as a result of making a contribution to a qualified organization, you can deduct only the amount of your contribution that is more than the value of the benefit you receive. Tax tips for 2012 Also see Contributions From Which You Benefit under Contributions You Cannot Deduct, later. Tax tips for 2012 If you pay more than fair market value to a qualified organization for goods or services, the excess may be a charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012 For the excess amount to qualify, you must pay it with the intent to make a charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012 Example 1. Tax tips for 2012 You pay $65 for a ticket to a dinner-dance at a church. Tax tips for 2012 Your entire $65 payment goes to the church. Tax tips for 2012 The ticket to the dinner-dance has a fair market value of $25. Tax tips for 2012 When you buy your ticket, you know that its value is less than your payment. Tax tips for 2012 To figure the amount of your charitable contribution, subtract the value of the benefit you receive ($25) from your total payment ($65). Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct $40 as a contribution to the church. Tax tips for 2012 Example 2. Tax tips for 2012 At a fundraising auction conducted by a charity, you pay $600 for a week's stay at a beach house. Tax tips for 2012 The amount you pay is no more than the fair rental value. Tax tips for 2012 You have not made a deductible charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012 Athletic events. Tax tips for 2012   If you make a payment to, or for the benefit of, a college or university and, as a result, you receive the right to buy tickets to an athletic event in the athletic stadium of the college or university, you can deduct 80% of the payment as a charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012   If any part of your payment is for tickets (rather than the right to buy tickets), that part is not deductible. Tax tips for 2012 Subtract the price of the tickets from your payment. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct 80% of the remaining amount as a charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012 Example 1. Tax tips for 2012 You pay $300 a year for membership in a university's athletic scholarship program. Tax tips for 2012 The only benefit of membership is that you have the right to buy one season ticket for a seat in a designated area of the stadium at the university's home football games. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct $240 (80% of $300) as a charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012 Table 24-1. Tax tips for 2012 Examples of Charitable Contributions—A Quick Check Use the following lists for a quick check of whether you can deduct a contribution. Tax tips for 2012 See the rest of this chapter for more information and additional rules and limits that may apply. Tax tips for 2012 Deductible As  Charitable Contributions Not Deductible  As Charitable Contributions Money or property you give to:  Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious organizations Federal, state, and local governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce the public debt or maintain a public park) Nonprofit schools and hospitals The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc. Tax tips for 2012 War veterans groups   Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization  Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer Money or property you give to:  Civic leagues, social and sports clubs, labor unions, and chambers of commerce Foreign organizations (except certain Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican charities) Groups that are run for personal profit 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    Example 2. Tax tips for 2012 The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your $300 payment includes the purchase of one season ticket for the stated ticket price of $120. Tax tips for 2012 You must subtract the usual price of a ticket ($120) from your $300 payment. Tax tips for 2012 The result is $180. Tax tips for 2012 Your deductible charitable contribution is $144 (80% of $180). Tax tips for 2012 Charity benefit events. Tax tips for 2012   If you pay a qualified organization more than fair market value for the right to attend a charity ball, banquet, show, sporting event, or other benefit event, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the value of the privileges or other benefits you receive. Tax tips for 2012   If there is an established charge for the event, that charge is the value of your benefit. Tax tips for 2012 If there is no established charge, the reasonable value of the right to attend the event is the value of your benefit. Tax tips for 2012 Whether you use the tickets or other privileges has no effect on the amount you can deduct. Tax tips for 2012 However, if you return the ticket to the qualified organization for resale, you can deduct the entire amount you paid for the ticket. Tax tips for 2012    Even if the ticket or other evidence of payment indicates that the payment is a “contribution,” this does not mean you can deduct the entire amount. Tax tips for 2012 If the ticket shows the price of admission and the amount of the contribution, you can deduct the contribution amount. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 You pay $40 to see a special showing of a movie for the benefit of a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 Printed on the ticket is “Contribution—$40. Tax tips for 2012 ” If the regular price for the movie is $8, your contribution is $32 ($40 payment − $8 regular price). Tax tips for 2012 Membership fees or dues. Tax tips for 2012    You may be able to deduct membership fees or dues you pay to a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 However, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the value of the benefits you receive. Tax tips for 2012    You cannot deduct dues, fees, or assessments paid to country clubs and other social organizations. Tax tips for 2012 They are not qualified organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Certain membership benefits can be disregarded. Tax tips for 2012   Both you and the organization can disregard the following membership benefits if you receive them in return for an annual payment of $75 or less. Tax tips for 2012 Any rights or privileges, other than those discussed under Athletic events , earlier, that you can use frequently while you are a member, such as: Free or discounted admission to the organization's facilities or events, Free or discounted parking, Preferred access to goods or services, and Discounts on the purchase of goods and services. Tax tips for 2012 Admission, while you are a member, to events open only to members of the organization, if the organization reasonably projects that the cost per person (excluding any allocated overhead) is not more than $10. Tax tips for 2012 20. Tax tips for 2012 Token items. Tax tips for 2012   You do not have to reduce your contribution by the value of any benefit you receive if both of the following are true. Tax tips for 2012 You receive only a small item or other benefit of token value. Tax tips for 2012 The qualified organization correctly determines that the value of the item or benefit you received is not substantial and informs you that you can deduct your payment in full. Tax tips for 2012 Written statement. Tax tips for 2012   A qualified organization must give you a written statement if you make a payment of more than $75 that is partly a contribution and partly for goods or services. Tax tips for 2012 The statement must say that you can deduct only the amount of your payment that is more than the value of the goods or services you received. Tax tips for 2012 It must also give you a good faith estimate of the value of those goods or services. Tax tips for 2012   The organization can give you the statement either when it solicits or when it receives the payment from you. Tax tips for 2012 Exception. Tax tips for 2012   An organization will not have to give you this statement if one of the following is true. Tax tips for 2012 The organization is: A governmental organization described in (5) under Types of Qualified Organizations , earlier, or An organization formed only for religious purposes, and the only benefit you receive is an intangible religious benefit (such as admission to a religious ceremony) that generally is not sold in commercial transactions outside the donative context. Tax tips for 2012 You receive only items whose value is not substantial as described under Token items , earlier. Tax tips for 2012 You receive only membership benefits that can be disregarded, as described earlier. Tax tips for 2012 Expenses Paid for Student Living With You You may be able to deduct some expenses of having a student live with you. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct qualifying expenses for a foreign or American student who: Lives in your home under a written agreement between you and a qualified organization as part of a program of the organization to provide educational opportunities for the student, Is not your relative or dependent, and Is a full-time student in the twelfth or any lower grade at a school in the United States. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct up to $50 a month for each full calendar month the student lives with you. Tax tips for 2012 Any month when conditions (1) through (3) are met for 15 days or more counts as a full month. Tax tips for 2012 For additional information, see Expenses Paid for Student Living With You in Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 Mutual exchange program. Tax tips for 2012   You cannot deduct the costs of a foreign student living in your home under a mutual exchange program through which your child will live with a family in a foreign country. Tax tips for 2012 Table 24-2. Tax tips for 2012 Volunteers' Questions and Answers If you volunteer for a qualified organization, the following questions and answers may apply to you. Tax tips for 2012 All of the rules explained in this chapter also apply. Tax tips for 2012 See, in particular, Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services . Tax tips for 2012 Question Answer I volunteer 6 hours a week in the office of a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 The receptionist is paid $10 an hour for the same work. Tax tips for 2012 Can I deduct $60 a week for my time?    No, you cannot deduct the value of your time or services. Tax tips for 2012 The office is 30 miles from my home. Tax tips for 2012 Can I deduct any of my car expenses for these trips? Yes, you can deduct the costs of gas and oil that are directly related to getting to and from the place where you volunteer. Tax tips for 2012 If you don't want to figure your actual costs, you can deduct 14 cents for each mile. Tax tips for 2012 I volunteer as a Red Cross nurse's aide at a hospital. Tax tips for 2012 Can I deduct the cost of the uniforms I must wear? Yes, you can deduct the cost of buying and cleaning your uniforms if the hospital is a qualified organization, the uniforms are not suitable for everyday use, and you must wear them when volunteering. Tax tips for 2012 I pay a babysitter to watch my children while I volunteer for a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 Can I deduct these costs? No, you cannot deduct payments for childcare expenses as a charitable contribution, even if you would be unable to volunteer without childcare. Tax tips for 2012 (If you have childcare expenses so you can work for pay, see chapter 32. Tax tips for 2012 ) Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services Although you cannot deduct the value of your services given to a qualified organization, you may be able to deduct some amounts you pay in giving services to a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 The amounts must be: Unreimbursed, Directly connected with the services, Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and Not personal, living, or family expenses. Tax tips for 2012 Table 24-2 contains questions and answers that apply to some individuals who volunteer their services. Tax tips for 2012 Conventions. Tax tips for 2012   If a qualified organization selects you to attend a convention as its representative, you can deduct unreimbursed expenses for travel, including reasonable amounts for meals and lodging, while away from home overnight in connection with the convention. Tax tips for 2012 However, see Travel , later. Tax tips for 2012   You cannot deduct personal expenses for sightseeing, fishing parties, theater tickets, or nightclubs. Tax tips for 2012 You also cannot deduct transportation, meals and lodging, and other expenses for your spouse or children. Tax tips for 2012    You cannot deduct your travel expenses in attending a church convention if you go only as a member of your church rather than as a chosen representative. Tax tips for 2012 You can, however, deduct unreimbursed expenses that are directly connected with giving services for your church during the convention. Tax tips for 2012 Uniforms. Tax tips for 2012   You can deduct the cost and upkeep of uniforms that are not suitable for everyday use and that you must wear while performing donated services for a charitable organization. Tax tips for 2012 Foster parents. Tax tips for 2012   You may be able to deduct as a charitable contribution some of the costs of being a foster parent (foster care provider) if you have no profit motive in providing the foster care and are not, in fact, making a profit. Tax tips for 2012 A qualified organization must select the individuals you take into your home for foster care. Tax tips for 2012    You can deduct expenses that meet both of the following requirements. Tax tips for 2012 They are unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses to feed, clothe, and care for the foster child. Tax tips for 2012 They are incurred primarily to benefit the qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012   Unreimbursed expenses that you cannot deduct as charitable contributions may be considered support provided by you in determining whether you can claim the foster child as a dependent. Tax tips for 2012 For details, see chapter 3. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 You cared for a foster child because you wanted to adopt her, not to benefit the agency that placed her in your home. Tax tips for 2012 Your unreimbursed expenses are not deductible as charitable contributions. Tax tips for 2012 Car expenses. Tax tips for 2012   You can deduct as a charitable contribution any unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, that are directly related to the use of your car in giving services to a charitable organization. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot deduct general repair and maintenance expenses, depreciation, registration fees, or the costs of tires or insurance. Tax tips for 2012    If you do not want to deduct your actual expenses, you can use a standard mileage rate of 14 cents a mile to figure your contribution. Tax tips for 2012   You can deduct parking fees and tolls whether you use your actual expenses or the standard mileage rate. Tax tips for 2012   You must keep reliable written records of your car expenses. Tax tips for 2012 For more information, see Car expenses under Records To Keep, later. Tax tips for 2012 Travel. Tax tips for 2012   Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. Tax tips for 2012 This applies whether you pay the expenses directly or indirectly. Tax tips for 2012 You are paying the expenses indirectly if you make a payment to the charitable organization and the organization pays for your travel expenses. Tax tips for 2012   The deduction for travel expenses will not be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. Tax tips for 2012 Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. Tax tips for 2012 However, if you have only nominal duties, or if for significant parts of the trip you do not have any duties, you cannot deduct your travel expenses. Tax tips for 2012 Example 1. Tax tips for 2012 You are a troop leader for a tax-exempt youth group and you take the group on a camping trip. Tax tips for 2012 You are responsible for overseeing the setup of the camp and for providing adult supervision for other activities during the entire trip. Tax tips for 2012 You participate in the activities of the group and enjoy your time with them. Tax tips for 2012 You oversee the breaking of camp and you transport the group home. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct your travel expenses. Tax tips for 2012 Example 2. Tax tips for 2012 You sail from one island to another and spend 8 hours a day counting whales and other forms of marine life. Tax tips for 2012 The project is sponsored by a charitable organization. Tax tips for 2012 In most circumstances, you cannot deduct your expenses. Tax tips for 2012 Example 3. Tax tips for 2012 You work for several hours each morning on an archaeological dig sponsored by a charitable organization. Tax tips for 2012 The rest of the day is free for recreation and sightseeing. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot take a charitable contribution deduction even though you work very hard during those few hours. Tax tips for 2012 Example 4. Tax tips for 2012 You spend the entire day attending a charitable organization's regional meeting as a chosen representative. Tax tips for 2012 In the evening you go to the theater. Tax tips for 2012 You can claim your travel expenses as charitable contributions, but you cannot claim the cost of your evening at the theater. Tax tips for 2012 Daily allowance (per diem). Tax tips for 2012   If you provide services for a charitable organization and receive a daily allowance to cover reasonable travel expenses, including meals and lodging while away from home overnight, you must include in income any part of the allowance that is more than your deductible travel expenses. Tax tips for 2012 You may be able to deduct any necessary travel expenses that are more than the allowance. Tax tips for 2012 Deductible travel expenses. Tax tips for 2012   These include: Air, rail, and bus transportation, Out-of-pocket expenses for your car, Taxi fares or other costs of transportation between the airport or station and your hotel, Lodging costs, and The cost of meals. Tax tips for 2012 Because these travel expenses are not business-related, they are not subject to the same limits as business-related expenses. Tax tips for 2012 For information on business travel expenses, see Travel Expenses in chapter 26. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions You Cannot Deduct There are some contributions you cannot deduct, such as those made to specific individuals and those made to nonqualified organizations. Tax tips for 2012 (See Contributions to Individuals and Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations , next. Tax tips for 2012 ) There are others you can deduct only part of, as discussed later under Contributions From Which You Benefit . Tax tips for 2012 Contributions to Individuals You cannot deduct contributions to specific individuals, including the following. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions to fraternal societies made for the purpose of paying medical or burial expenses of deceased members. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions to individuals who are needy or worthy. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot deduct these contributions even if you make them to a qualified organization for the benefit of a specific person. Tax tips for 2012 But you can deduct a contribution to a qualified organization that helps needy or worthy individuals if you do not indicate that your contribution is for a specific person. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct contributions to a qualified organization for flood relief, hurricane relief, or other disaster relief. Tax tips for 2012 However, you cannot deduct contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family. Tax tips for 2012 Payments to a member of the clergy that can be spent as he or she wishes, such as for personal expenses. Tax tips for 2012 Expenses you paid for another person who provided services to a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 Your son does missionary work. Tax tips for 2012 You pay his expenses. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot claim a deduction for your son's unreimbursed expenses related to his contribution of services. Tax tips for 2012 Payments to a hospital that are for a specific patient's care or for services for a specific patient. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot deduct these payments even if the hospital is operated by a city, a state, or other qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations You cannot deduct contributions to organizations that are not qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions, including the following. Tax tips for 2012 Certain state bar associations if: The bar is not a political subdivision of a state, The bar has private, as well as public, purposes, such as promoting the professional interests of members, and Your contribution is unrestricted and can be used for private purposes. Tax tips for 2012 Chambers of commerce and other business leagues or organizations (but see chapter 28). Tax tips for 2012 Civic leagues and associations. Tax tips for 2012 Communist organizations. Tax tips for 2012 Country clubs and other social clubs. Tax tips for 2012 Most foreign organizations (other than certain Canadian, Israeli, or Mexican charitable organizations). Tax tips for 2012 For details, see Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 Homeowners' associations. Tax tips for 2012 Labor unions (but see chapter 28). Tax tips for 2012 Political organizations and candidates. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions From Which You Benefit If you receive or expect to receive a financial or economic benefit as a result of making a contribution to a qualified organization, you cannot deduct the part of the contribution that represents the value of the benefit you receive. Tax tips for 2012 See Contributions From Which You Benefit under Contributions You Can Deduct, earlier. Tax tips for 2012 These contributions include the following. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions for lobbying. Tax tips for 2012 This includes amounts that you earmark for use in, or in connection with, influencing specific legislation. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions to a retirement home for room, board, maintenance, or admittance. Tax tips for 2012 Also, if the amount of your contribution depends on the type or size of apartment you will occupy, it is not a charitable contribution. Tax tips for 2012 Costs of raffles, bingo, lottery, etc. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot deduct as a charitable contribution amounts you pay to buy raffle or lottery tickets or to play bingo or other games of chance. Tax tips for 2012 For information on how to report gambling winnings and losses, see Gambling winnings in chapter 12 and Gambling Losses Up to the Amount of Gambling Winnings in chapter 28. Tax tips for 2012 Dues to fraternal orders and similar groups. Tax tips for 2012 However, see Membership fees or dues , earlier, under Contributions You Can Deduct. Tax tips for 2012 Tuition, or amounts you pay instead of tuition. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot deduct as a charitable contribution amounts you pay as tuition even if you pay them for children to attend parochial schools or qualifying nonprofit daycare centers. Tax tips for 2012 You also cannot deduct any fixed amount you must pay in addition to, or instead of, tuition to enroll in a private school, even if it is designated as a “donation. Tax tips for 2012 ” Value of Time or Services You cannot deduct the value of your time or services, including: Blood donations to the American Red Cross or to blood banks, and The value of income lost while you work as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 Personal Expenses You cannot deduct personal, living, or family expenses, such as the following items. Tax tips for 2012 The cost of meals you eat while you perform services for a qualified organization unless it is necessary for you to be away from home overnight while performing the services. Tax tips for 2012 Adoption expenses, including fees paid to an adoption agency and the costs of keeping a child in your home before adoption is final (but see Adoption Credit in chapter 37, and the instructions for Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses). Tax tips for 2012 You also may be able to claim an exemption for the child. Tax tips for 2012 See Adopted child in chapter 3. Tax tips for 2012 Appraisal Fees You cannot deduct as a charitable contribution any fees you pay to find the fair market value of donated property (but see chapter 28). Tax tips for 2012 Contributions of Property If you contribute property to a qualified organization, the amount of your charitable contribution is generally the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 However, if the property has increased in value, you may have to make some adjustments to the amount of your deduction. Tax tips for 2012 See Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. Tax tips for 2012 For information about the records you must keep and the information you must furnish with your return if you donate property, see Records To Keep and How To Report , later. Tax tips for 2012 Clothing and household items. Tax tips for 2012   You cannot take a deduction for clothing or household items you donate unless the clothing or household items are in good used condition or better. Tax tips for 2012 Exception. Tax tips for 2012   You can take a deduction for a contribution of an item of clothing or household item that is not in good used condition or better if you deduct more than $500 for it and include a qualified appraisal of it with your return. Tax tips for 2012 Household items. Tax tips for 2012   Household items include: Furniture and furnishings, Electronics, Appliances, Linens, and Other similar items. Tax tips for 2012   Household items do not include: Food, Paintings, antiques, and other objects of art, Jewelry and gems, and Collections. Tax tips for 2012 Cars, boats, and airplanes. Tax tips for 2012    The following rules apply to any donation of a qualified vehicle. Tax tips for 2012 A qualified vehicle is: A car or any motor vehicle manufactured mainly for use on public streets, roads, and highways, A boat, or An airplane. Tax tips for 2012 Deduction more than $500. Tax tips for 2012   If you donate a qualified vehicle with a claimed fair market value of more than $500, you can deduct the smaller of: The gross proceeds from the sale of the vehicle by the organization, or The vehicle's fair market value on the date of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 If the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to figure the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. Tax tips for 2012 Form 1098-C. Tax tips for 2012   You must attach to your return Copy B of the Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, (or other statement containing the same information as Form 1098-C) you received from the organization. Tax tips for 2012 The Form 1098-C (or other statement) will show the gross proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. Tax tips for 2012   If you e-file your return, you must: Attach Copy B of Form 1098-C to Form 8453 and mail the forms to the IRS, or Include Copy B of Form 1098-C as a pdf attachment if your software program allows it. Tax tips for 2012   If you do not attach Form 1098-C (or other statement), you cannot deduct your contribution. Tax tips for 2012    You must get Form 1098-C (or other statement) within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle. Tax tips for 2012 But if exception 1 or 2 (described later) applies, you must get Form 1098-C (or other statement) within 30 days of your donation. Tax tips for 2012 Filing deadline approaching and still no Form 1098-C. Tax tips for 2012   If the filing deadline is approaching and you still do not have a Form 1098-C, you have two choices. Tax tips for 2012 Request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return. Tax tips for 2012 You can get this extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U. Tax tips for 2012 S. Tax tips for 2012 Individual Income Tax Return. Tax tips for 2012  For more information, see Automatic Extension in chapter 1. Tax tips for 2012 File the return on time without claiming the deduction for the qualified vehicle. Tax tips for 2012 After receiving the Form 1098-C, file an amended return, Form 1040X, claiming the deduction. Tax tips for 2012 Attach Copy B of Form 1098-C (or other statement) to the amended return. Tax tips for 2012 For more information about amended returns, see Amended Returns and Claims for Refund in chapter 1. Tax tips for 2012 Exceptions. Tax tips for 2012   There are two exceptions to the rules just described for deductions of more than $500. Tax tips for 2012 Exception 1—vehicle used or improved by organization. Tax tips for 2012   If the qualified organization makes a significant intervening use of or material improvement to the vehicle before transferring it, you generally can deduct the vehicle's fair market value at the time of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 But if the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to get the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. Tax tips for 2012 The Form 1098-C (or other statement) will show whether this exception applies. Tax tips for 2012 Exception 2—vehicle given or sold to needy individual. Tax tips for 2012   If the qualified organization will give the vehicle, or sell it for a price well below fair market value, to a needy individual to further the organization's charitable purpose, you generally can deduct the vehicle's fair market value at the time of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 But if the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to get the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. Tax tips for 2012 The Form 1098-C (or other statement) will show whether this exception applies. Tax tips for 2012   This exception does not apply if the organization sells the vehicle at auction. Tax tips for 2012 In that case, you cannot deduct the vehicle's fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 Anita donates a used car to a qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 She bought it 3 years ago for $9,000. Tax tips for 2012 A used car guide shows the fair market value for this type of car is $6,000. Tax tips for 2012 However, Anita gets a Form 1098-C from the organization showing the car was sold for $2,900. Tax tips for 2012 Neither exception 1 nor exception 2 applies. Tax tips for 2012 If Anita itemizes her deductions, she can deduct $2,900 for her donation. Tax tips for 2012 She must attach Form 1098-C and Form 8283 to her return. Tax tips for 2012 Deduction $500 or less. Tax tips for 2012   If the qualified organization sells the vehicle for $500 or less and exceptions 1 and 2 do not apply, you can deduct the smaller of: $500, or The vehicle's fair market value on the date of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 But if the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to get the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. Tax tips for 2012   If the vehicle's fair market value is at least $250 but not more than $500, you must have a written statement from the qualified organization acknowledging your donation. Tax tips for 2012 The statement must contain the information and meet the tests for an acknowledgment described under Deductions of At Least $250 But Not More Than $500 under Records To Keep, later. Tax tips for 2012 Partial interest in property. Tax tips for 2012   Generally, you cannot deduct a charitable contribution of less than your entire interest in property. Tax tips for 2012 Right to use property. Tax tips for 2012   A contribution of the right to use property is a contribution of less than your entire interest in that property and is not deductible. Tax tips for 2012 For exceptions and more information, see Partial Interest in Property Not in Trust in Publication 561. Tax tips for 2012 Future interests in tangible personal property. Tax tips for 2012   You cannot deduct the value of a charitable contribution of a future interest in tangible personal property until all intervening interests in and rights to the actual possession or enjoyment of the property have either expired or been turned over to someone other than yourself, a related person, or a related organization. Tax tips for 2012 Tangible personal property. Tax tips for 2012   This is any property, other than land or buildings, that can be seen or touched. Tax tips for 2012 It includes furniture, books, jewelry, paintings, and cars. Tax tips for 2012 Future interest. Tax tips for 2012   This is any interest that is to begin at some future time, regardless of whether it is designated as a future interest under state law. Tax tips for 2012 Determining Fair Market Value This section discusses general guidelines for determining the fair market value of various types of donated property. Tax tips for 2012 Publication 561 contains a more complete discussion. Tax tips for 2012 Fair market value is the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither having to buy or sell, and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts. Tax tips for 2012 Used clothing and household items. Tax tips for 2012   The fair market value of used clothing and household goods is usually far less than what you paid for them when they were new. Tax tips for 2012   For used clothing, you should claim as the value the price that buyers of used items actually pay in used clothing stores, such as consignment or thrift shops. Tax tips for 2012 See Household Goods in Publication 561 for information on the valuation of household goods, such as furniture, appliances, and linens. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 Dawn Greene donated a coat to a thrift store operated by her church. Tax tips for 2012 She paid $300 for the coat 3 years ago. Tax tips for 2012 Similar coats in the thrift store sell for $50. Tax tips for 2012 The fair market value of the coat is $50. Tax tips for 2012 Dawn's donation is limited to $50. Tax tips for 2012 Cars, boats, and airplanes. Tax tips for 2012   If you contribute a car, boat, or airplane to a charitable organization, you must determine its fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 Certain commercial firms and trade organizations publish used car pricing guides, commonly called “blue books,” containing complete dealer sale prices or dealer average prices for recent model years. Tax tips for 2012 The guides may be published monthly or seasonally and for different regions of the country. Tax tips for 2012 These guides also provide estimates for adjusting for unusual equipment, unusual mileage, and physical condition. Tax tips for 2012 The prices are not “official” and these publications are not considered an appraisal of any specific donated property. Tax tips for 2012 But they do provide clues for making an appraisal and suggest relative prices for comparison with current sales and offerings in your area. Tax tips for 2012   You can also find used car pricing information on the Internet. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 You donate a used car in poor condition to a local high school for use by students studying car repair. Tax tips for 2012 A used car guide shows the dealer retail value for this type of car in poor condition is $1,600. Tax tips for 2012 However, the guide shows the price for a private party sale of the car is only $750. Tax tips for 2012 The fair market value of the car is considered to be $750. Tax tips for 2012 Large quantities. Tax tips for 2012   If you contribute a large number of the same item, fair market value is the price at which comparable numbers of the item are being sold. Tax tips for 2012 Giving Property That Has Decreased in Value If you contribute property with a fair market value that is less than your basis in it, your deduction is limited to its fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot claim a deduction for the difference between the property's basis and its fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 Giving Property That Has Increased in Value If you contribute property with a fair market value that is more than your basis in it, you may have to reduce the fair market value by the amount of appreciation (increase in value) when you figure your deduction. Tax tips for 2012 Your basis in property is generally what you paid for it. Tax tips for 2012 See chapter 13 if you need more information about basis. Tax tips for 2012 Different rules apply to figuring your deduction, depending on whether the property is: Ordinary income property, or Capital gain property. Tax tips for 2012 Ordinary income property. Tax tips for 2012   Property is ordinary income property if you would have recognized ordinary income or short-term capital gain had you sold it at fair market value on the date it was contributed. Tax tips for 2012 Examples of ordinary income property are inventory, works of art created by the donor, manuscripts prepared by the donor, and capital assets (defined in chapter 14) held 1 year or less. Tax tips for 2012 Amount of deduction. Tax tips for 2012   The amount you can deduct for a contribution of ordinary income property is its fair market value minus the amount that would be ordinary income or short-term capital gain if you sold the property for its fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 Generally, this rule limits the deduction to your basis in the property. Tax tips for 2012 Example. Tax tips for 2012 You donate stock you held for 5 months to your church. Tax tips for 2012 The fair market value of the stock on the day you donate it is $1,000, but you paid only $800 (your basis). Tax tips for 2012 Because the $200 of appreciation would be short-term capital gain if you sold the stock, your deduction is limited to $800 (fair market value minus the appreciation). Tax tips for 2012 Capital gain property. Tax tips for 2012   Property is capital gain property if you would have recognized long-term capital gain had you sold it at fair market value on the date of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 It includes capital assets held more than 1 year, as well as certain real property and depreciable property used in your trade or business and, generally, held more than 1 year. Tax tips for 2012 Amount of deduction — general rule. Tax tips for 2012   When figuring your deduction for a contribution of capital gain property, you generally can use the fair market value of the property. Tax tips for 2012 Exceptions. Tax tips for 2012   In certain situations, you must reduce the fair market value by any amount that would have been long-term capital gain if you had sold the property for its fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 Generally, this means reducing the fair market value to the property's cost or other basis. Tax tips for 2012 Bargain sales. Tax tips for 2012   A bargain sale of property is a sale or exchange for less than the property's fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 A bargain sale to a qualified organization is partly a charitable contribution and partly a sale or exchange. Tax tips for 2012 A bargain sale may result in a taxable gain. Tax tips for 2012 More information. Tax tips for 2012   For more information on donating appreciated property, see Giving Property That Has Increased in Value in Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 When To Deduct You can deduct your contributions only in the year you actually make them in cash or other property (or in a later carryover year, as explained later under Carryovers ). Tax tips for 2012 This applies whether you use the cash or an accrual method of accounting. Tax tips for 2012 Time of making contribution. Tax tips for 2012   Usually, you make a contribution at the time of its unconditional delivery. Tax tips for 2012 Checks. Tax tips for 2012   A check you mail to a charity is considered delivered on the date you mail it. Tax tips for 2012 Text message. Tax tips for 2012   Contributions made by text message are deductible in the year you send the text message if the contribution is charged to your telephone or wireless account. Tax tips for 2012 Credit card. Tax tips for 2012    Contributions charged on your credit card are deductible in the year you make the charge. Tax tips for 2012 Pay-by-phone account. Tax tips for 2012    Contributions made through a pay-by-phone account are considered delivered on the date the financial institution pays the amount. Tax tips for 2012 Stock certificate. Tax tips for 2012   A properly endorsed stock certificate is considered delivered on the date of mailing or other delivery to the charity or to the charity's agent. Tax tips for 2012 However, if you give a stock certificate to your agent or to the issuing corporation for transfer to the name of the charity, your contribution is not delivered until the date the stock is transferred on the books of the corporation. Tax tips for 2012 Promissory note. Tax tips for 2012   If you issue and deliver a promissory note to a charity as a contribution, it is not a contribution until you make the note payments. Tax tips for 2012 Option. Tax tips for 2012    If you grant a charity an option to buy real property at a bargain price, it is not a contribution until the organization exercises the option. Tax tips for 2012 Borrowed funds. Tax tips for 2012   If you contribute borrowed funds, you can deduct the contribution in the year you deliver the funds to the charity, regardless of when you repay the loan. Tax tips for 2012 Limits on Deductions The amount you can deduct for charitable contributions cannot be more than 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Tax tips for 2012 Your deduction may be further limited to 30% or 20% of your AGI, depending on the type of property you give and the type of organization you give it to. Tax tips for 2012 If your total contributions for the year are 20% or less of your AGI, these limits do not apply to you. Tax tips for 2012 The limits are discussed in detail under Limits on Deductions in Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 A higher limit applies to certain qualified conservation contributions. Tax tips for 2012 See Publication 526 for details. Tax tips for 2012 Carryovers You can carry over any contributions you cannot deduct in the current year because they exceed your adjusted-gross-income limits. Tax tips for 2012 You can deduct the excess in each of the next 5 years until it is used up, but not beyond that time. Tax tips for 2012 For more information, see Carryovers in Publication 526. Tax tips for 2012 Records To Keep You must keep records to prove the amount of the contributions you make during the year. Tax tips for 2012 The kind of records you must keep depends on the amount of your contributions and whether they are: Cash contributions, Noncash contributions, or Out-of-pocket expenses when donating your services. Tax tips for 2012 Note. Tax tips for 2012 An organization generally must give you a written statement if it receives a payment from you that is more than $75 and is partly a contribution and partly for goods or services. Tax tips for 2012 (See Contributions From Which You Benefit under Contributions You Can Deduct, earlier. Tax tips for 2012 ) Keep the statement for your records. Tax tips for 2012 It may satisfy all or part of the recordkeeping requirements explained in the following discussions. Tax tips for 2012 Cash Contributions Cash contributions include those paid by cash, check, electronic funds transfer, debit card, credit card, or payroll deduction. Tax tips for 2012 You cannot deduct a cash contribution, regardless of the amount, unless you keep one of the following. Tax tips for 2012 A bank record that shows the name of the qualified organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 Bank records may include: A canceled check, A bank or credit union statement, or A credit card statement. Tax tips for 2012 A receipt (or a letter or other written communication) from the qualified organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 The payroll deduction records described next. Tax tips for 2012 Payroll deductions. Tax tips for 2012   If you make a contribution by payroll deduction, you must keep: A pay stub, Form W-2, or other document furnished by your employer that shows the date and amount of the contribution, and A pledge card or other document prepared by or for the qualified organization that shows the name of the organization. Tax tips for 2012 If your employer withheld $250 or more from a single paycheck, see Contributions of $250 or More , next. Tax tips for 2012 Contributions of $250 or More You can claim a deduction for a contribution of $250 or more only if you have an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization or certain payroll deduction records. Tax tips for 2012 If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that lists each contribution and the date of each contribution and shows your total contributions. Tax tips for 2012 Amount of contribution. Tax tips for 2012   In figuring whether your contribution is $250 or more, do not combine separate contributions. Tax tips for 2012 For example, if you gave your church $25 each week, your weekly payments do not have to be combined. Tax tips for 2012 Each payment is a separate contribution. Tax tips for 2012   If contributions are made by payroll deduction, the deduction from each paycheck is treated as a separate contribution. Tax tips for 2012   If you made a payment that is partly for goods and services, as described earlier under Contributions From Which You Benefit , your contribution is the amount of the payment that is more than the value of the goods and services. Tax tips for 2012 Acknowledgment. Tax tips for 2012   The acknowledgment must meet these tests. Tax tips for 2012 It must be written. Tax tips for 2012 It must include: The amount of cash you contributed, Whether the qualified organization gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain token items and membership benefits), A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services described in (b) (other than intangible religious benefits), and A statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case. Tax tips for 2012 The acknowledgment does not need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit. Tax tips for 2012 An intangible religious benefit is a benefit that generally is not sold in commercial transactions outside a donative (gift) context. Tax tips for 2012 An example is admission to a religious ceremony. Tax tips for 2012 You must get it on or before the earlier of: The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or The due date, including extensions, for filing the return. Tax tips for 2012   If the acknowledgment does not show the date of the contribution, you must also have a bank record or receipt, as described earlier, that does show the date of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 If the acknowledgment shows the date of the contribution and meets the other tests just described, you do not need any other records. Tax tips for 2012 Payroll deductions. Tax tips for 2012   If you make a contribution by payroll deduction and your employer withholds $250 or more from a single paycheck, you must keep: A pay stub, Form W-2, or other document furnished by your employer that shows the amount withheld as a contribution, and A pledge card or other document prepared by or for the qualified organization that shows the name of the organization and states the organization does not provide goods or services in return for any contribution made to it by payroll deduction. Tax tips for 2012 A single pledge card may be kept for all contributions made by payroll deduction regardless of amount as long as it contains all the required information. Tax tips for 2012   If the pay stub, Form W-2, pledge card, or other document does not show the date of the contribution, you must have another document that does show the date of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 If the pay stub, Form W-2, pledge card, or other document shows the date of the contribution, you do not need any other records except those just described in (1) and (2). Tax tips for 2012 Noncash Contributions For a contribution not made in cash, the records you must keep depend on whether your deduction for the contribution is: Less than $250, At least $250 but not more than $500, Over $500 but not more than $5,000, or Over $5,000. Tax tips for 2012 Amount of deduction. Tax tips for 2012   In figuring whether your deduction is $500 or more, combine your claimed deductions for all similar items of property donated to any charitable organization during the year. Tax tips for 2012   If you received goods or services in return, as described earlier in Contributions From Which You Benefit , reduce your contribution by the value of those goods or services. Tax tips for 2012 If you figure your deduction by reducing the fair market value of the donated property by its appreciation, as described earlier in Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , your contribution is the reduced amount. Tax tips for 2012 Deductions of Less Than $250 If you make any noncash contribution, you must get and keep a receipt from the charitable organization showing: The name of the charitable organization, The date and location of the charitable contribution, and A reasonably detailed description of the property. Tax tips for 2012 A letter or other written communication from the charitable organization acknowledging receipt of the contribution and containing the information in (1), (2), and (3) will serve as a receipt. Tax tips for 2012 You are not required to have a receipt where it is impractical to get one (for example, if you leave property at a charity's unattended drop site). Tax tips for 2012 Additional records. Tax tips for 2012   You must also keep reliable written records for each item of contributed property. Tax tips for 2012 Your written records must include the following information. Tax tips for 2012 The name and address of the organization to which you contributed. Tax tips for 2012 The date and location of the contribution. Tax tips for 2012 A description of the property in detail reasonable under the circumstances. Tax tips for 2012 For a security, keep the name of the issuer, the type of security, and whether it is regularly traded on a stock exchange or in an over-the-counter market. Tax tips for 2012 The fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution and how you figured the fair market value. Tax tips for 2012 If it was determined by appraisal, keep a signed copy of the appraisal. Tax tips for 2012 The cost or other basis of the property, if you must reduce its fair market value by appreciation. Tax tips for 2012 Your records should also include the amount of the reduction and how you figured it. Tax tips for 2012 The amount you claim as a deduction for the tax year as a result of the contribution, if you contribute less than your entire interest in the property during the tax year. Tax tips for 2012 Your records must include the amount you claimed as a deduction in any earlier years for contributions of other interests in this property. Tax tips for 2012 They must also include the name and address of each organization to which you contributed the other interests, the place where any such tangible property is located or kept, and the name of any person in possession of the property, other than the organization to which you contributed it. Tax tips for 2012 The terms of any conditions attached to the contribution of property. Tax tips for 2012 Deductions of At Least $250 But Not More Than $500 If you claim a deduction of at least $250 but not more than $500 for a noncash charitable contribution, you must get and keep an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization. Tax tips for 2012 If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that shows your total contributions. Tax tips for 2012 The acknowledgment must contain the information in items (1) through (3) under Deductions of Less Than $250 , earlier, and your written records must include the information listed in that discussion under Additional records . Tax tips for 2012 The acknowledgment must also meet these tests. Tax tips for 2012 It must be written. Tax tips for 2012 It must include: A description (but not necessarily the value) of any property you contributed, Whether the qualified organization gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain token items and membership benefits), and A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services described in (b). Tax tips for 2012 If the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit (such as admission to a religious ceremony) that generally is not sold in a commercial transaction outside the donative context, the acknowledgment must say so and does not need to describe or estimate the value of the benefit. Tax tips for 2012 You must get it on or before the earlier of: The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or The due date, including extensions, for filing the return. Tax tips for 2012 Deductions Over $500 You are required to give additional information if you claim a deduction over $500 for noncash charitable contributions. Tax tips for 2012 See Records To Keep in Publication 526 for more information. Tax tips for 2012 Out-of-Pocket Expenses If you give services to a qualified organization and have unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses related to those services, the following two rules apply. Tax tips for 2012 You must have adequate records to prove the amount of the expenses. Tax tips for 2012 If any of your unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, considered separately, are $250 or more (for example, you pay $250 or more for an airline ticket to attend a convention of a qualified organization as a chosen representative), you must get an acknowledgment from the qualified organization that contains: A description of the services you provided, A statement of whether or not the organization provided you any goods or services to reimburse you for the expenses you incurred, A description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services (other than intangible religious benefits) provided to reimburse you, and A statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case. Tax tips for 2012 The acknowledgment does not need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit (defined earlier under Acknowledgment ). Tax tips for 2012 You must get the acknowledgment on or before the earlier of: The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or The due date, including extensions, for filing the return. Tax tips for 2012 Car expenses. Tax tips for 2012   If you claim expenses directly related to use of your car in giving services to a qualified organization, you must keep reliable written records of your expenses. Tax tips for 2012 Whether your records are considered reliable depends on all the facts and circumstances. Tax tips for 2012 Generally, they may be considered reliable if you made them regularly and at or near the time you had the expenses. Tax tips for 2012   For example, your records might show the name of the organization you were serving and the dates you used your car for a charitable purpose. Tax tips for 2012 If you use the standard mileage rate of 14 cents a mile, your records must show the miles you drove your car for the charitable purpose. Tax tips for 2012 If you deduct your actual expenses, your records must show the costs of operating the car that are directly related to a charitable purpose. Tax tips for 2012   See Car expenses under Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services, earlier, for the expenses you can deduct. Tax tips for 2012 How To Report Report your charitable contributions on Schedule A (Form 1040). Tax tips for 2012 If your total deduction for all noncash contributions for the year is over $500, you must also file Form 8283. Tax tips for 2012 See How To Report in Publication 526 for more information. Tax tips for 2012 Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications