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Taxpayers who don’t itemize can take a special $300
charitable contribution deduction on 2020 tax returns
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security
(CARES) Act includes several temporary
provisions designed to help charities. These
include higher elective limits for charitable cash
contribution made by certain corporations, higher
deduction limits for individuals and businesses for certain food donations
made to food banks and other eligible charities, and a special $300 deduction.
The special $300 charitable contribution deduction is available to individual
taxpayers who choose to take the standard deduction rather than itemizing
their deductions. So, if you do not file Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, with
your 2020 Form 1040 series income tax return, you can still take this $300
deduction ($150 deduction if your filing status is married filing separately) if
your charitable cash donations qualify.
Prior to the CARES act change charitable contribution deductions could only
be claimed on Schedule A and did not directly affect the adjusted gross
income you reported on your tax return.
Please note that this article discusses only the special $300 charitable contribution
deduction for individuals. For more information about other Coronavirus
related tax relief provisions, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.
What is allowed?
Charitable cash donations of up to $300 made to qualifying organizations
before December 31, 2020, are now deductible for individuals who choose to
use the standard deduction rather than itemizing their deductions.
Cash donations include those made by check, credit card or debit card. They
don’t include donated services, household items, securities or other property.
What donations are considered allowable?
Though cash donations to most charitable organizations qualify, some do
not. Before making a donation, people should check the special Tax Exempt
Organization Search (TEOS) tool on IRS.gov to make sure the organization
qualifies and is eligible for tax-deductible donations.
Where do I claim it on my tax return?
The donation amount will be reported on Form 1040 series tax returns.
Review the related form instructions for exactly where to report it on the form.
Forms and instructions can be found on IRS.gov at Forms, Instructions &
What records do I need to keep?
By law, special recordkeeping rules apply to any taxpayer claiming a charitable
contribution deduction. Usually, this includes obtaining a receipt or
acknowledgement letter from the charity before filing a tax return and retaining
a cancelled check or credit card receipt.
For details on these recordkeeping rules, see Publication 526, Charitable
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