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This article generally explains the rules covering income tax deductions for charitable contributions by individuals. You can find a more comprehensive discussion of these rules in Publication 526Charitable Contributions, and Publication 561Determining the Value of Donated Property. For information about the substantiation and disclosure requirements for charitable contributions, see Publication 1771. You can obtain these publications free of charge by calling 1-800-829-3676.

You may deduct charitable contributions of money or property made to qualified organizations if you itemize your deductions. Generally, you may deduct up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income, but 20 percent and 30 percent limitations apply in some cases. Exempt Organizations Select Check uses deductibility status codes to identify these limitations.

Qualified Organizations

You may deduct a charitable contribution made to, or for the use of, any of the following organizations that otherwise are qualified under section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code:

  1. A state or United States possession (or political subdivision thereof), or the United States or the District of Columbia, if made exclusively for public purposes;
  2. A community chest, corporation, trust, fund, or foundation, organized or created in the United States or its possessions, or under the laws of the United States, any state, the District of Columbia or any possession of the United States, and organized and operated exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, scientific, or literary purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals;
  3. A church, synagogue, or other religious organization;
  4. A war veterans’ organization or its post, auxiliary, trust, or foundation organized in the United States or its possessions;
  5. A nonprofit volunteer fire company;
  6. A civil defense organization created under federal, state, or local law (this includes unreimbursed expenses of civil defense volunteers that are directly connected with and solely attributable to their volunteer services);
  7. A domestic fraternal society, operating under the lodge system, but only if the contribution is to be used exclusively for charitable purposes;
  8. A nonprofit cemetery company if the funds are irrevocably dedicated to the perpetual care of the cemetery as a whole and not a particular lot or mausoleum crypt.

Timing of Contributions

Contributions must actually be paid in cash or other property before the close of your tax year to be deductible, whether you use the cash or accrual method.

Deductible Amounts

If you donate property other than cash to a qualified organization, you may generally deduct the fair market value of the property.  If the property has appreciated in value, however, some adjustments may have to be made.

The rules relating to how to determine fair market value are discussed in Publication 561Determining the Value of Donated Property.

Limitations on Deductions

In general, contributions to charitable organizations may be deducted up to 50 percent of adjusted gross income computed without regard to net operating loss carrybacks.  Contributions to certain private foundations, veterans organizations, fraternal societies, and cemetery organizations are limited to 30 percent adjusted gross income (computed without regard to net operating loss carrybacks), however. Exempt Organizations Select Check uses deductibility status codes to indicate these limitations.

The 50 percent limitation applies to (1) all public charities (code PC), (2) all private operating foundations (code POF), (3) certain private foundations that distribute the contributions they receive to public charities and private operating foundations within 2-1/2 months following the year of receipt, and (4) certain private foundations the contributions to which are pooled in a common fund and the income and corpus of which are paid to public charities.

The 30 percent limitation applies to private foundations (code PF), other than those previously mentioned that qualify for a 50 percent limitation, and to other organizations described in section 170(c) that do not qualify for the 50 percent limitation, such as domestic fraternal societies (code LODGE).

A special limitation applies to certain gifts of long-term capital gain property.  A discussion of that special limitation may be found in Publication 526Charitable Contributions.

Some of the areas in which we can advise you include Preparation, Planning, and dealing with the government for:

Taxpayers Who are Victims of Domestic Abuse Should Know Their Rights

Domestic abuse often includes control over finances. An important part of managing finances is understanding one’s tax rights. Taxpayers have the right to expect the IRS to consider facts and circumstances that might affect the individual’s taxes.

Taxpayers have the right to:

  • File a separate return even if they’re married.
  • Review the entire tax return before signing a joint return.
  • Review supporting documents for a joint return.
  • Refuse to sign a joint return.
  • Request more time to file their tax return.
  • Get copies of prior year tax returns from the IRS.
  • Seek independent legal advice.

Taxpayers also have the right to request relief from the liability shown on a joint return. This is known as innocent spouse relief. Here are a couple of examples:

Example 1:

  • A taxpayer signs a joint return with their spouse.
  • The taxpayer thought their spouse paid all taxes due.
  • The IRS contacts the taxpayer because the taxes shown on the joint return were not paid.

Example 2:

  • The taxpayer signs a joint return with their spouse.
  • The taxpayer didn’t know about their spouse’s unreported income or erroneous deductions.
  • The IRS adjusted the taxes due because of their spouse’s improper items.

To apply for Innocent Spouse Relief, a taxpayer fills out Form 8857, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief.   More Information:

Share this tip on social media — #IRSTaxTip: Taxpayers Who are Victims of Domestic Abuse Should Know Their Rights.



Requesting Copy of Fraudulently Filed Return
IRS provides instructions

A victim of identity theft or a person authorized to obtain the victim’s tax information may request a redacted copy of a fraudulent return that was filed and accepted by the IRS using the victim’s name and SSN.

Due to federal privacy laws, the victim’s name and SSN must be listed as either the primary or secondary taxpayer on the fraudulent return; otherwise, the IRS cannot disclose the return information. For this reason, the IRS cannot disclose return information to any person listed only as a dependent.

Partial or full redaction will protect additional possible victims on the return. However, there will be enough data for taxpayers to determine how their personal information was used.

To make the request, individuals will need to complete a Form 4506-F,Request for a Copy of a Fraudulent Tax Return.

For additional instructions, see Requesting Copy of Fraudulent Returns.


Taxpayers with Expiring ITINs Can Renew Number Now

Taxpayers who use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbershould check to see if their number expires this year. If it does, and they need to file a return in 2018, they should submit an application now to renew their ITIN. Doing this helps avoid tax refund and processing delays next year. The IRS issues ITINs to people who are not eligible for a Social Security number, but who need to file a tax return.

Taxpayers who have not used their ITIN to file a federal return at least once in the last three years will see their number expire Dec. 31, 2017. ITINs with middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80 will also expire at the end of the year. These taxpayers should renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement in 2018. Additionally, taxpayers whose ITINs have middle digits 78 or 79 that have expired should renew their ITIN if they will have a filing requirement. Other taxpayers with ITINs do not need to take any action.

To renew an ITIN, a taxpayer must complete a Form W-7 and submit required documentation. There are three ways to submit this information. Taxpayers can:

  • Mail the package to the IRS address listed on the Form W-7 instructions. The IRS will review the documents and return them within 60 days.
  • Work with a Certified Acceptance Agent to help them renew their ITIN.

Taxpayers with an ITIN that has the middle digits 70, 71, 72, 78, 79, or 80 do have the option to renew ITINs for their entire family at the same time. They can renew together even if family members have an ITIN with other middle digits. Family members include the tax filer, spouse and any dependents claimed on the tax return.