Income Tax Preparation & Small Business Accounting

Charity Donation Deductions

Do you give away cash or goods to charitable organizations such as Purple Hearts, Salvation Army or your local church? If you do, and if you file itemized deductions on your return (usually if you are a home owner with mortgage interest to deduct) then you may be eligable to take a deduction for what you donated on your tax return.

However, your donations MUST be properly documented in order for you to take them. The IRS is increasingly strict about this and has recently tightened up and altered the laws reguarding donations.

What you need to know:

You need to keep the name of the charity and proof of your donation. This applies to every donation you make, no matter how small. There is no minimum allowed deduction any more, all donations must be documented.
Acceptable forms of proof are:

  • A canceled check
  • A receipt / statement from the charity

For household goods such as everything ranging from furnature and sports equipment to clothes, books and dolls, you need to have:

  • The name of the charity
  • A signed reciept from the charity
  • A list of the items donated, with their value
  • Total value of donation
  • Photo of items donated

As guides for putting prices on your donated goods, you can check out the valuation guides found on these websites:

Salvation Army
Good Will

For donating larger items such as cars, please refer to the IRS's "A Donor's Guide to Vehicle Donations"

Find more information about Charitable Contributions here.


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