The Tuesday after Thanksgiving marks Giving Tuesday when many people choose to make charitable donations. People making charitable donations for Giving Tuesday, or at any time during the year, should review whether their gift is tax-deductible.
Donations to charities may be deductible
Most contributions of cash or property made to a charitable organization are deductible as an itemized deduction on Schedule A, Form 1040, Itemized Deductions. Cash contributions include those made by check, credit card or debit card, as well as unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with volunteer services to a qualifying charitable organization. Donations of property other than cash are generally deductible at their fair market value.
There are some contributions that aren't tax deductible, including donations:
- Made to a supporting organization
- Intended to help establish or maintain a donor advised fund
- Carried forward from prior years
- Made to most private foundations
- Made to charitable remainder trusts
- Of time spent volunteering
Some things to do when a taxpayer is considering making charitable gifts include:
- Use the Interactive Tax Assistant to help determine if a charitable contribution is deductible.
- Get a written acknowledgement for any charitable contributions of $250 or more.
- Research charities they are considering donating to carefully.
Tax Exempt Organization Search tool
As people are deciding where to make their donations, the IRS has a tool that may help. Tax Exempt Organization Search on IRS.gov is a tool that allows users to search for charities. TEOS provides information about an organization's federal tax status and filings.
Things to know about the TEOS tool:
- Donors can use it to confirm an organization is tax-exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
- Users can find out if an organization had its tax-exempt status revoked.
- TEOS does not list certain organizations that may be eligible to receive tax-deductible donations, including churches, organizations in a group ruling and governmental entities.
- TEOS lists organizations under the legal name or a "doing business as" name on file with the IRS. No separate listing of common or popular names is searchable.
Qualified charitable distributions
Taxpayers age 70 ½ or older can make a qualified charitable distribution directly from their IRA, other than a SEP or SIMPLE IRA, to a qualified charitable organization. The maximum annual amount a taxpayer may exclude from income for a QCD is $100,000. A QCD may also count toward the taxpayer's required minimum distribution for the year. Taxpayers should review Publication 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements, for more information.