TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / Tax Deductions and Credits / Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Great Ways to Get Charitable Tax Deductions

Updated for Tax Year 2016


OVERVIEW

Generally, when you give money to a charity, you can use the amount of that donation as a deduction on your tax return. However, not all charities qualify as tax-deductible organizations. While there are many types of charities, they must all meet certain criteria to be classified by the IRS as tax-deductible organizations. There are legitimate tax-deductible organizations in many popular categories, such as those listed below.


1. Medical and Service Organizations

Doctors looking at x rays

Qualified medical and service organizations provide assistance to those in need both domestically and internationally. Doctors Without Borders sends a corps of volunteer doctors to overseas locations to serve people threatened by natural disasters, armed conflict, epidemics or other forms of violence or neglect. The medical humanitarian organization earned an overall ranking of 92.03 out of 100 from third-party review service Charity Navigator for its financial accountability and transparency scores.

The American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton in 1881, was originally organized to aid victims of both wars and natural disasters. Since then, the mission of the Red Cross has expanded to a variety of services intended to relieve and prevent suffering. The Red Cross receives an 85.25 rating from Charity Navigator.

2. Feeding the World

Small African child

If your charitable nature tilts towards feeding the world's hungry and impoverished, Oxfam America could be a charity of interest to you. Oxfam's stated goal is to "right the wrongs" brought about by poverty, hunger and injustice. Oxfam America receives an overall score of 86.99 from Charity Navigator, mainly due to its impressive accountability and transparency ratings.

3. Social Development

Donations binThere is no shortage of qualified charities that serve the homeless or economically underprivileged. The Salvation Army, a religious organization, is a social development charity that receives an A/A- rating from CharityWatch. The Salvation Army functions by turning donations into revenue via retail stores to help those in need.

Habitat for Humanity, a B+ rated organization by CharityWatch, focuses simply on helping those without homes. With the strength of a large volunteer corps, Habitat for Humanity builds or repairs homes of those in need, particularly those displaced due to wars, natural disasters or other forms of civil unrest.

4. Wildlife and Natural Resources

Birds in the wild

Preserving global resources and protecting animals are both popular missions of charities. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) aims to protect the resources that sustain life, namely air, land and water. Boasting an impressive 93.07 score from Charity Navigator, the NRDC has received a boost in recent years from a slew of celebrity endorsements. The Council also fights to preserve endangered natural habitats.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a qualifying charity dedicated to the conservation of nature. The WWF works towards reducing pollution, more efficient use of resources, and the preservation of natural areas and wild animal and plant populations. CharityWatch gives the WWF a score of 87.93 out of 100.

5. Children's and General Service Charities

Picture of a food drive

Many charities focus on the development of communities, including the protection of children. The United Way Worldwide is one of the oldest and largest qualifying charities, founded in 1887 and having operations in 41 countries and territories worldwide. The purpose of the United Way is to mobilize communities to advance the common good, focusing on education, health and income. Charity Navigator gives the nonprofit a score of 92.99.

UNICEF raises funds to protect children in more than 190 countries and territories worldwide. UNICEF's ultimate goal is to prevent the exploitation and abuse of any child, including the denial of education or healthcare. UNICEF garners a 93.69 score from Charity Navigator.

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99$34.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures
  • TURBOTAX ONLINE/MOBILE

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Free 1040EZ/1040A + Free State offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; Offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • QuickBooks Bonus Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 federal return with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/17 and receive a complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18 at no additional cost. After you file your taxes, you must activate your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 7/15/2017 by logging into QuickBooks Self-Employed via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/login. Once activated, you will have access to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/2018.
    Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not file with TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/30/2018, your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription will automatically renew on 5/1/2018 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself: In order to pay for the price of TurboTax Self-Employed, you will need at least $600 in deductible business expenses. This calculation is based on the self-employment tax income rate for tax year 2016.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or SmartLook); not included with Federal Free Edition. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed Expense Finder: Available only in TurboTax Self-Employed. Not available for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Some financial institutions limit the timeframe for which historical transactions may be imported by ExpenseFinder. ExpenseFinder expected late January (late February for mobile app).
  • TURBOTAX CD/DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.