Every year, my clients ask what charitable deductions can be claimed on their tax return.  Sadly, I have some clients who meticulously track their charitable contributions, only to be told that they cannot itemize, so they have no benefit from their deductions.

What are the rules for charitable deductions?  The IRS has a nice “Ten Tips” article that provides plain guidance.   Here’s a very quick and abbreviated summary – for more information check out the link to the article, below:

1.    ONLY qualified charities
2.    NOT time or services
3.    NOT tickets or merchandise for fund-raisers
4.    Fair-market value = deduction amount
5.    Donated items must be usable
6.    Must have documentation
7.    > $250 must have better documentation
8.    Noncash donations > $500 require separate tax form
9.    Noncash donations > $5000 require appraisal
10.    Must be able to itemize (Schedule A) to deduct

Ten Tips for Deducting Charitable Contributions

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