Publication 526 - Introductory Material


Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Publication 526 (such as legislation enacted after we release it), go to www.irs.gov/pub526.

What's New

Limit on itemized deductions. For 2013, you may have to reduce the total amount of certain itemized deductions, including charitable contributions, if your adjusted gross income is more than:

  • $150,000 if married filing separately,

  • $250,000 if single,

  • $275,000 if head of household, or

  • $300,000 if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er).

For more information and a worksheet, see the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040).

Reminders

Disaster relief. You can deduct contributions for flood relief, hurricane relief, or other disaster relief to a qualified organization (defined under Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions ). However, you cannot deduct contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family.Publication 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations, has more information about disaster relief, including how to establish a new charitable organization. You can also find more information on IRS.gov. Enter “disaster relief” in the search box.

Photographs of missing children. The IRS is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Introduction

This publication explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. It discusses the types of organizations to which you can make deductible charitable contributions and the types of contributions you can deduct. It also discusses how much you can deduct, what records you must keep, and how to report charitable contributions.

A charitable contribution is a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value.

Qualified organizations.   Qualified organizations include nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. You will find descriptions of these organizations under Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions .

Form 1040 required.   To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). The amount of your deduction may be limited if certain rules and limits explained in this publication apply to you.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications Division 
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Ordering forms and publications.   Visit www.irs.gov/formspubs/ to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service 
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Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on IRS.gov or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property

Form (and Instructions)

  • Schedule A (Form 1040) Itemized Deductions

  • 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions

 
See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting these publications and forms.

Table 1.Examples of Charitable Contributions—A Quick Check

Use the following lists for a quick check of whether you can deduct a contribution. See the rest of this publication for more information and additional rules and limits that may apply.

Deductible As 
Charitable Contributions
Not Deductible As 
Charitable Contributions
Money or property you give to: Money or property you give to:
  • Churches, synagogues, temples, 
    mosques, and other religious 
    organizations 

  • Federal, state, and local 
    governments, if your contribution is 
    solely for public purposes (for 
    example, a gift to reduce the public 
    debt or maintain a public park) 

  • Nonprofit schools and hospitals 

  • The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc. 

  • War veterans' groups 

 
 
Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization 
 
Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer
  • Civic leagues, social and sports 
    clubs, labor unions, and chambers of 
    commerce 

  • Foreign organizations (except certain 
    Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican 
    charities) 

  • Groups that are run for personal 
    profit 

  • Groups whose purpose is to lobby for 
    law changes 

  • Homeowners' associations 

  • Individuals 

  • Political groups or candidates for 
    public office 

 
 
Cost of raffle, bingo, or lottery tickets 
 
Dues, fees, or bills paid to country clubs, lodges, fraternal orders, or similar groups 
 
Tuition 
 
Value of your time or services 
 
Value of blood given to a blood bank
 


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