Posted on January 23, 2017 in

Taxes & Charitable Contributions

As you’re preparing to file your tax return for 2016, CPS Investment Advisors wants to touch on charitable contributions. There are some misconceptions on what you can and can’t claim.

Plus, you need a written acknowledgment from a charity for any single contribution of $250.00 or more and it should include the phrase “no goods or services” were provided. Non-cash donations over $5,000 requires an appraisal to be attached. Charitable gifts are an itemized deduction, so if you are not itemizing then you receive no tax benefit for your gift.

Here’s what you can deduct:

  • Money or property given to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations.
  • Money or property given to federal, state and local governments if one’s contribution is solely for public purposes (an example is a gift to reduce public debt)
  • Money or property given to nonprofit schools and hospitals
  • Money or property given to public parks and recreation facilities
  • Money or property given to the Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club, etc.
  • Money or property given to war veterans groups
  • Costs paid by the taxpayer for a student living with the taxpayer sponsored by a qualified organization
  • Out-of-pocket expenses when the taxpayer serves as a volunteer for a qualified organization
  • IRA to charity
  • Donation of appreciated stock

Here’s what you cannot deduct:

  • Money or property given to Civic Leagues, social and sport clubs, labor unions and chambers of commerce
  • Money or property given to most foreign organizations
  • Money or property given to groups run for personal profit
  • Money or property given to groups whose purpose is to lobby for changes
  • Money or property given to homeowners’ associations
  • Money or property given to individuals
  • Money or property given to political groups or candidates for public office
  • Money or property given to organizations that influence the general public about elections
  • Money or property given to alumni dues
  • Cost of raffle, bingo or lottery tickets
  • Dues, fees or bills paid to country clubs
  • Lodges, fraternal orders or similar groups.
  • Tuition
  • Value of blood given to blood bank
  • Gift to a pastor, must be given to entity to qualify for a deduction
  • Donating a timeshare to auction