Can I Write off Donations?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2019
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Many charitable organizations depend on donations by the general public to continue operating. As one way of encouraging people to give to charities and other non-profit organizations, many national governments make it possible to write off donations as a tax deduction. However, defining what is a legitimate charitable tax deduction varies from on country to another. Here is what you need to know in order to determine if items or cash you donate to a given organization will result in a tax break.

In just about every country where it is possible to write off donations, specific rules and regulations are established for qualifying which organizations are formally recognized by the government. Charitable organizations that wish to earn this level of recognition must comply with those regulations as far as how they are established and how they function. One of the benefits of choosing to comply with government standards is that any donations made to the charity are eligible as tax breaks for the donors. Thus, giving to any non-profit organization that is in compliance with the national government where the organization is established provides the ability for donors to write off donations.


In many countries, it is also possible to write off donations to religious organizations. Some governments do not require a house of worship to file anything but the most basic of documentation in order to be legally recognized as a charitable organization. Other countries require a great deal of documentation and compliance with a wide range of regulations in order to receive donations that can be write offs for donors. The only way to be sure if a given faith based organization meets current governmental standards is to contact the national revenue agency that processes tax payments from citizens of the country. The agency will be able to confirm the current status of any charity or non-profit and thus tell the donor whether contributions to a given organization are tax-deductible.

The ability to write off donations to various organizations that are for-profit varies widely throughout the world. In some cases, it is possible to deduct a percentage of the donation, while in others a donation to anything other than a non-profit entity does not merit a tax deduction of any type. Further, there is no guarantee that a given organization will maintain its status from one year to the next. It is always a good idea to ask for documentation that proves donations to any organization does qualify for a tax break before making the donation.


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Post 3

Can a cash donation to an organization that didn't get a Tax ID number be written off?

Post 2

@allenJo - That depends. For example, if you want to get a car donation tax write off, you can certainly do that. However check with I.R.S. about current regulations.

It used to be that you could deduct the fair market value of the car, but I think if the charity sells the car, you can only deduct what they sell it for.

Post 1

We give a lot of charitable contributions, not only of cash but also of assets as well. You can certainly contact the I.R.S. if you’re not sure whether a contribution is deductible, but in most cases you will receive a receipt from the charity indicating if it’s a tax deductible contribution.

If you give an asset, they will print you a receipt with the fair market value of that contribution.

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