Donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofits are tax-deductible. This means that when you make a contribution to an organization that has been designated as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS and you have not received anything in return for your gift, you are eligible for a deduction when you file your taxes.
Organizations that receive a 501(c)(3) designation from the IRS are typically service providers and are not involved in political or lobbying activities. For example, a contribution to your local animal shelter that is involved in rescuing pets, providing them shelter, and finding them new homes would be tax-deductible. However, a gift to your favorite political candidate’s campaign would not be.
A quick tip: Charities must receive a 501(c)(3) designation to qualify for a Charity Navigator rating. You can see an organization's IRS designation on its profile page:
View the IRS subsection on a profile page for an organization rated through the Star Rating System:
View the IRS subsection on a profile page for an organization rated through the Encompass Rating System:
Did you attend a gala or dinner fundraiser this year? The cost of your meal (what the organization pays for the venue and your dinner) is not tax-deductible, however, anything in excess of that cost may be. Contact the organization to find out.
We know it’s annoying, but it’s important to hold onto all of your donation receipts. This will help you keep track of all of your charitable giving when it comes time to file your taxes, and provide you with records of your gifts if you were to be audited.
It is important that your donation receipts include language stating the date the gift was made, the amount of the gift, how the gift was made (cash, stock, in-kind, etc.), and that no goods or services were received in exchange for your gift.
For this tax year, this means your contributions must have been made between January 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020. If you’re one of the many people who wait until the last week of December to make their donations, make sure your receipts are all properly dated for the 2020 calendar year.
For specific questions about filing your taxes, deducting charitable contributions, or planning for future charitable giving, it is always best to seek the opinion of a professional accountant or financial advisor.
If you’re looking for your receipts after giving through Charity Navigator’s Giving Basket, log into your account to see your donation history. (You can also manage your recurring donations through this page if you’re looking to give even more this year).