Charitable contributions are donations made to qualified
charitable organizations. The contributions can be monetary, or
physical property. Qualified charitable contributions are
deductible as an itemized deduction.
Qualified organizations can be public or private foundations.
Organizations will be able to tell you whether they are considered
a qualified organization for tax purposes. The limit on donations
is greater for public organizations. Qualified organizations
For a contribution of $250 or more, you must have a receipt in
order to claim a deduction.
Although you cannot deduct the value of time you spent
volunteering, you can deduct travel expenses you incurred while
performing volunteer services away from home, as long as no
significant part of the trip was spent for personal pleasure,
vacation, or recreation. You can also deduct out-of-pocket expenses
incurred in completing the volunteer services, including auto
expenses, which are figured at 14 cents per mile.
Property donation amounts may vary depending on the type of
organization and property donated:
The overall limitation of charitable contributions is 50% of
your adjusted gross income (AGI). If your contributions exceed this
limit in a given tax year, you can deduct the remainder of your
contributions over the next 5 tax years.
If you receive any type of benefit from a contribution that you
make, you must reduce the contribution amount by the fair market
value of the benefit you received. For example if you pay $50
to attend a church luncheon, and the fair market value of the lunch
is $15, you can only deduct $35 as a charitable contribution.
If you pay more than fair market value to obtain merchandise,
goods, or services, the amount you pay in excess of the fair market
value can be deducted as a charitable contribution. You
cannot deduct the amount that would normally be paid for the
Organizations qualifying for the 50% limit include churches,
educational organizations that maintain a regular student body and
staff, and organizations that provide medical research, education,
Organizations qualifying for the 30% limit include qualified
organizations considered private organizations. In addition, some
capital gain properties qualify for the 30% limit.
Capital gain properties donated to private organizations qualify
for the lesser of 20% of your AGI or 30% of your AGI minus any 30%
limitation contributions made.
For more information please refer to IRS
Topic 506 - Contributions.