Americans are very generous people. Aside from the good feeling you get from following your philanthropic nature, the tax laws reward you for making donations. Americans donated $373.25 billion to charities in 2015 (according to estimates by the Giving USA group) and nearly 25% did volunteer work for charities.
This chapter covers the basic rules for claiming charitable contribution deductions, including the limits on different types of contributions and the substantiation required to support the deductions. This chapter also contains a record keeper that you can use to track your cash contributions throughout the year.
For more information, see IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions; IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property; IRS Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions—Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements; IRS Publication 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations; and IRS Publication 4303, A Donor's Guide to Vehicle Donations.
Donations by cash, check, or credit card to charities or government bodies are deductible within set limits if certain conditions are met. The impact of this deduction is that Uncle Sam becomes your partner in making contributions. For example, if you are in the 33% tax bracket, the government is effectively making almost of your contribution through the tax savings you enjoy from the donation.
You can deduct the cash donations ...