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Charity: Giving To

Tax Deduction For Charitable Donations

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Charitable donations are tax deductible to a maximum in any year of 50% of your adjusted gross income for donations of cash, and 30% for appreciated securities.

The law requires that every gift, no matter how small, must be supported by either a cancelled check or a receipt or letter from the charity. Donations over $250 require a letter or receipt from the charity.

Employer records are an acceptable way of proving donations made through payroll deductions.

For gifts of property:

  • The deduction is for the value of the property at the time the gift is made (not the cost). Tax software programs generally have a listing of current values. You can also see valuations at the Salvation Army's website: offsite link
  • You need proof that is in "good used" condition. The IRS hasn't defined what that means. Photos are one way of proving the condition.
  • You need a receipt for any donation worth at least $250, including a description of the property. For contributions over $500, an extra form (IRS form 8283) has to be included in your tax return describing the property. Property valued at more than $5,000 needs to be appraised.

With respect to used cars, as a general matter, the deduction is limited to what the charities sells the car for. You can deduct the fair market value if the charity gives or sells the car to a needy individual in "direct furtherance" of the charity's purpose.

NOTE: If you use your own car in service of charitable groups, you can consider 14 cents per mile to be a charitable contribution in 2018 plus what you pay for parking and tolls..

Reviewed by Jerry S. Chasen, Esq.

Chasen & Associates, P.A.

Miami, FL offsite link

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