What Can You Claim as a Charitable Contribution?

Many of our clients at Biesinger & Kofford CPAs make charitable contributions throughout the year, and wish to claim it as a tax deduction. But not every charitable contribution qualifies for such a deduction, and the exact rules surrounding this element of tax law often confuses many of our clients. To learn more about qualifying charitable contributions, keep reading, and if you have further questions, contact us for additional tax help in Provo.

Common Unqualified Claims

Most of the contributions we see listed on our clients’ taxes are, in fact, qualifying charitable contributions. However, there are certain types of donations that we often see individuals trying to write off, which don’t actually qualify as a tax deduction. Here are some of the most common ones that we see at our accounting firm:

  • Donations to any for-profit group or business
  • Donations to GoFundMe or Kickstarter pages, or similar online fundraising pages
  • Personal donations, such as paying for an individual’s tuition
  • Estimated value of donated blood
  • Fees, bills, and dues paid to HOAs, country clubs, and similar organizations
  • Estimated value of personal time and services provided during volunteer work (regardless of the group for which these services were provided)

If you’ve provided the following types of charitable contributions in the last year—while they are certainly still admirable—they unfortunately do not qualify as a tax deduction.

So What Does Qualify?

If you have provided monetary donations or have donated items to the following types of organizations, it will most likely qualify as a deduction on your taxes:

  • Certified charity groups (Red Cross, Goodwill, Salvation Army, veterans’ groups, etc.); be sure to research any charity group you donate to in order to verify whether or not your donation qualifies
  • Nonprofit schools and hospitals
  • State, local, and federal governments; donation must be made for a public purpose (e.g., building a public library)
  • Religious organizations (churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc.)

Donations made to these groups can include any cash donations (such as tithing), donation of items for the organization to use or sell, or costs incurred during volunteer work. For example, if you volunteered with your local Boy Scout troop, you could deduct the cost of any supplies purchased for the group (if they were not refunded), as well as deducting any miles you drove while performing the volunteer work. However, as mentioned above, you cannot deduct your personal time or the value of your services while volunteering.

If you’re ever uncertain about whether or not your charitable donation qualifies as a tax write-off, please reach out to the CPAs at Biesinger & Kofford. We are always happy to provide you with additional tax help in Provo.