Deducting Charitable Contributions
In addition to the satisfaction and peace of mind that comes with charitable giving, individuals who donate funds to certain charitable establishments could also qualify for a special deduction. There are, however, strict rules regarding charitable deductions, so if you donated to a charity last year and have questions about your eligibility for a deduction, you should reach out to an experienced Florida tax return preparation lawyer for help.
Qualifying Charitable Organizations
While taxpayers can deduct charitable contributions, they can only do so if the organization to which they donate falls under one of the following categories:
- A community chest, corporation, trust, foundation, or fund created under state or federal law and operated for charitable, religious, literary, scientific, or educational purposes;
- Churches, synagogues, and religious organizations;
- Non-profit volunteer fire companies;
- War veterans’ organizations, including auxiliaries, posts, foundations, and trusts;
- Domestic fraternal societies, associations, and orders operated under the lodge system;
- Civil defense organizations;
- Non-profit cemetery companies; or
- States, U.S. possessions, political subdivisions, or Indian tribal governments.
There are also certain organizations that are specifically excluded from the definition of a qualified charity, including civil leagues, business organizations, country clubs, social clubs, most foreign organizations, labor unions, homeowners’ associations, and political organizations.
When making charitable contributions in the form of cash, check, or monetary gift, taxpayers must maintain a record of that contribution if they want to deduct it at a later date. A bank record or written communication from the organization will usually satisfy this purpose if it contains:
- The name of the organization;
- The amount donated; and
- The date of the contribution.
If a person didn’t contribute cash or a monetary gift, but instead donated property, he or she will also need to obtain written acknowledgment from the organization with a detailed description of the property contributed. For contributions of more than $250, these records must also contain descriptions of any goods or services that the organization provided in exchange for the donation, as well as an estimate of the cost of those services or goods. When claiming the deduction, a taxpayer may also be required to include an appraisal if the non-cash donation is worth more than $5,000.
Reporting a Charitable Deduction
Certain charitable deductions, including cash contributions and out-of-pocket expenses can be claimed by completing Schedule A, Form 1040. Non-cash contributions of over $500, on the other hand, will also require the completion of Form 8283, Section A. Failure to complete this step could result in the IRS’ disallowance of a deduction. Deductions of over $5,000 for donations of similar items must be claimed on Section B of Form 8283. If the items in the group were donated to more than one charity, then the taxpayer will also be required to file a separate Form 8283 for each organization.
Call Our Office Today
To set up a meeting with an experienced Florida tax return preparation lawyer who can help you claim deductions for your charitable donations from last year, please call dedicated tax & IRS lawyer, CPA, and Former Special Agent FBI, Ronald Cutler at Ronald Cutler, P.A. at 386-490-9949 today.