Charity Donation FAQ

I donated money to my church by putting money in the collection plate. 
I don't have a receipt.  Can I deduct it?
No!   IRS rules require written evidence for ALL deductible donations.  
What kind of written evidence do I need?
  • A receipt or a cancelled check showing the recipient organization, the date, and the amount of the donation are adequate evidence for donations under $250.  
  • If the donation is $250 or more, then the taxpayer should obtain a letter from the recipient organization stating the amount of the contribution and the value--if any--of goods or service provided to the donor in exchange for the contribution.  (Example:  donor gave $200 to attend a charity dinner, and the value of the dinner was estimated at $30, then $170 is the deductible charitable donation.) 
I gave money to a deserving family that had a lot of medical expenses or a family hurt by the recent floods?  Can I deduct it?
No!  IRS rules require that deductible donations be made to qualifying
charitable organizations, which are 501(c)-3 organization such as Catholic Charities, Goodwill, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Schenectady Inner City Mission, United Jewish Appeal, United Way, YMCA, YWCA,  etc.  Nonprofit educational institutions including colleges and universities, schools, and museums also qualify.  Churches, syngagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious congregations are also eligible. 
You can't deduct a donation you made to an individual or family, no matter how deserving.
What about political campaigns?  Can I get a deduction for that?
No!   Donations to political campaigns are NOT eligible for deduction anywhere on your taxes.
I gave used clothing to the Goodwill