Taxpayers who give money or goods to a charity may be able to claim a deduction on their 2017 federal tax return, which basically reduces the amount of their taxable income. Here are some important facts about charitable donations:
- Qualified charities. To receive a deduction, taxpayers must donate to a qualified charity. To check the status of a charity, use the IRS Select Check tool. Here are examples of things that taxpayers can't deduct:
- Gifts to individuals
- Donations to political organizations and candidates
Itemize deductions. To deduct donations, taxpayers must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions using Schedule A.
Benefit in return. Taxpayers can only deduct the amount of their donation that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received. If taxpayers get something in return for their donation, they may have to reduce their deduction. Examples of benefits include merchandise, meals and tickets to events.
Property donation. If taxpayers give property instead of cash, they can normally only deduct the item's fair market value. Fair market value is generally the price they'd get for the property on the open market. Used clothing and household items donated must generally be in good condition or better. Special rules apply to cars, boats and other types of property donations.
Form to File. Taxpayers file Form 8283 for all non-cash gifts totaling more than $500 for the year.
- Proof of Donation. If taxpayers donated cash or goods of $250 or more, they must have a written statement from the charity. The statement must show:
- Amount of the donation.
- Description of any property given.
- Whether the donor received any goods or services in exchange for the gift.
Tax tip 2018-39
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