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Donate to Charities to Decrease Taxable Income

Credits & Deductions Taxes

Updated for tax year 2020.

Picture depicting charity donation with the word "Give" written over stones.

Are you asking for a receipt when you donate to charities?

You should be.

Beyond the personal satisfaction of donating to charitable organizations, there could also be income tax benefits for your kind gestures.

Generally, you can take a deduction for contributions of money or property made to a qualified organization. There are limitations, however, based on your adjusted gross income (AGI).

Itemize your deductions

In order to benefit from the donation for income tax purposes, you must file Federal Form 1040 and itemize your deductions on Schedule A.

If the total of your itemized deductions (including charitable contributions) is greater than the standard deduction for your particular filing status, your itemized deductions will decrease your taxable income and tax liability.

Common types of organizations that are considered qualified

  • Religious, charitable, educational, scientific, literary, and prevention of cruelty to children or animal organizations
  • War veterans’ organizations
  • Domestic fraternal societies, orders, and associations operating under the lodge system
  • Certain nonprofit cemetery companies or corporations

Keep records of your contributions

Regardless of the amount of your contribution, there are recordkeeping requirements if you claim these deductions (though you do not need to attach the records to your tax return).

Generally speaking, your records must include:

  • Date of the contribution
  • Amount of contribution
  • The name of the charity

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