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How to Take Tax Deductions for Charitable Giving


Review your records, noting the method of donation (cash, property, securities, etc.), amount of contribution, organization contributed to, and other information for each charitable contribution you made during the year.


Itemize your charitable contributions on Schedule A of Form 1040.


Enter the amount of your total cash donations (including check and credit card donations) for the year on line 15.


Enter the amount of your total noncash contributions on line 16. (If the amount of your noncash deduction is more than $500, you must complete and attach Form 8283.)


Enter the amount of any carry-over deductions (from previous years) on line 17.


Enter the total of lines 15 through 17 on line 18 for your total Gifts to Charity deduction.


Make sure to claim your deductions in the same year that you made the contributions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Review Internal Revenue Service Publication 526, "Charitable Contributions," for more detailed guidelines.
  • 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.
  • Consult with an accountant or tax adviser.
  • If you use a short form or take standard deductions when filing, you cannot claim charitable contributions as deductions.
  • Your deductions for charitable contributions is generally limited to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income, but in some cases 20 percent and 30 percent limits may apply.
  • Claiming expenses incurred from having a student living with you requires a statement from the sponsoring organization, a summary of expenses and the dates of the student's attendance at school.
  • If you donated a noncash gift valued at more than $5,000, you may also have to get appraisals of the donated property.

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