Tax Tips: Gifts That Keep on Giving

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You can deduct as a charitable contribution on Schedule A the following items:

  • Cash or property given to a qualified tax-exempt church or charity created or organized in the U.S. or any U.S. possession. You can find out if a charity is qualified at the IRS Web site.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses connected with donations or volunteer service to a qualifying church or charity, such as the cost of the ingredients of homemade cookies or a cake donated to a church bake sale and the costs to purchase and launder uniforms for a scoutmaster.
  • Travel and transportation expenses incurred while performing a volunteer service for a qualifying church or charity. If you use your car you can deduct 14 cents per mile plus any parking fees and tolls.
  • The portion of the cost of a ticket to a fundraising event that exceeds the “fair market value” of any goods or services you receive. If a ticket to a fund-raising dinner is $100, and the cost of the dinner is $35, you can deduct only $65.

For contributions of $250 or more made in any one day to a charity you must have a written acknowledgement from the church or charity with its name and address, the date and amount of the contribution, and a statement that you were provided any goods or services by the charity in exchange for the donation.

Additional special rules exist for cash contributions and for donating a car to charity.

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