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I donated money to charity, how do I know if I can deduct it?

You can deduct cash gifts you made as charitable contributions if the gift was made to a qualified organization on or before December 31 of the tax year for which you want to take the deduction.

Go to this section in Credit Karma Tax: Gifts to Charity

Cash contributions include:

  • Checks
  • Debit or credit card charges
  • Electronic transfers
  • Amounts deducted from your paycheck

If you receive something in return for making a contribution to a qualified organization, you can only deduct the portion that you paid that is more than the value of what you received.

Which organizations qualify?

Some examples of qualified organizations are churches, nonprofits and government organizations.

If you are unsure whether the charity you donated to qualifies, use the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool to check.

Donations to political organizations or candidates are not deductible.

Do I need records or receipts?

You must keep records of all cash contributions you make or you won’t be able to take a deduction. Some examples of documents to keep on hand are:

  • A canceled check, a credit card or bank statement that shows the name of the organization, the date the contribution was made and the amount you contributed.
  • A receipt (or a letter or other written communication) from the qualified organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.
  • A copy of your pay stub showing the payroll deduction.

If you donated $250 or more, you should receive a written acknowledgement of your contributions from the qualified organization.
Source: irs.gov

You can attach any supporting documents in the Other Tax Items section using Form 8453. Click here to generate Form 8453.

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