In a post last week, I explored the basics of charitable contributions, and I mentioned that not all “not-for-profit” organizations are qualified organizations for purposes of getting a tax deduction for a donation. In general, 501(c)(3) organizations qualify, as do churches.
Officially, the Internal Revenue Code, at Section 170(c), defines a charitable organization as:
- A state or city, as long as your donation is used exclusively for public purposes.
- A community chest, corporation, trust, fund or foundation organized for any of the following purposes: religious, charitable, educational, scientific, literary or the prevention of cruelty to animals.
- A post or organization for war veterans.
- Fraternal societies, as long as the gift is used for the same purposes as described under bullet-point 2 (religious, charitable, educational, etc.).
- Nonprofit cemetary companies or corporations.
When in doubt, ask the organization, ask your tax pro, or consult IRS Publication 78. Publication 78 is actually an on-line search engine at the IRS website. Churches always qualify, and are NOT shown in Publication 78.