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Video: IRS Rules for Charitable Giving

Updated for Tax Year 2015


Most donations to places of worship, international relief organizations and war veterans groups are tax-deductible.

Hi, I'm Michael Alban from TurboTax with with guidance for taxpayers on charitable deductions.

Uncle Sam encourages your generosity by allowing deductions for donations to not-for-profit organizations. To qualify, your donations must go to charities with a 501(c) designation from the IRS. Most donations to places of worship, international relief organizations and war veterans groups are deductible.

You can write off cash, property or stock at fair-market values. You can also donate clothing and household items that are in good condition.

In past years, a private log of cash donations under $250 was acceptable documentation. But now for donations of any amount, you must have a canceled check, a bank record, or a receipt from the charity.

Tighter rules also govern gifts and services that accompany charitable donations. For example, if you receive a seat at an award dinner in return for a portion of your donation, that portion is not deductible. Ask the organization to verify the value of your deduction.

If you donated by cell phone, you can now use your phone bill as proof, as long as the bill lists the name of the charity, the date, and the amount you donated.

What does not qualify for a tax break? Donations to civic leagues, clubs, chambers of commerce, homeowners' associations, political campaigns and lobbying groups, and most foreign organizations.

If you don't know if a donation qualifies, call the charity or visit Then use all the tax advantages you can to support the causes that matter to you.

For more information about charitable giving and other tax topics, visit

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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.

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