Charitable donations can be a great way to help out during tax season. If you’re claiming any charity donations, you must use the 1040 tax forms. Federal income tax forms 1040EZ and 1040A don’t allow for it. This is because to claim charity you must itemize deductions.
However, if your contributions are between $500 to $5,000, you must also use income tax forms 8283. If they are over $5,000 you must fill out Section B of tax forms 8283.
What You Can Claim
Donations to charity include a variety of things. Anything that was given to a qualified charitable organization without getting anything in return is considered a donation. This includes both cash and non-cash items.
It’s not just to Goodwill or Brother Charlie, either. You may be able to count money given to your church or schools. If you’re not sure, ask a tax professional. Also keep in mind the IRS lets you claim miles traveled you spent on trips for charity.
One major thing to remember is you must have receipts for all the items you claim on your federal income tax forms. You can’t simply claim everything with no proof. Every item must be backed up with evidence. The IRS treats charitable donations very seriously. Trying to trick them is not advised.
1040 Income Tax Forms
Make sure the total of your itemized deductions will be more than the standard deductions. You may not have to worry about figuring all the tax info out if the standard gets you more money.
For charity under $500, you will use Schedule A on the 1040 income tax forms. The section is called “Gifts to Charity.” Fill out how much you sent in by cash. Separately, fill in how much you contributed by non-cash items. If you had any carryover from the previous year, add it in. Add all these up and enter the total on the Schedule A federal income tax forms.
Take the total and put it on the 1040 federal income tax forms. After figuring out the rest of your deductions, put the final total on line 40. This should reduce your tax liability and may give you more money back on your refund.