Charitable Giving FAQs

When you file your taxes, you will need to itemize your donations on Schedule A of the 1040 form. You can download this form and the instructions for how to fill it out from the IRS Web site.

Can I deduct expenses I incur from volunteering?

Although individual taxpayers may not deduct the value of their volunteering services, some expenses incurred while volunteering, for example, travel expenses are deductible if they are not reimbursed by the charity. The mileage rate for charitable deductions for the 2007 tax year is 14 cents per mile plus tolls and parking for non-Katrina related mileage. For Katrina relief efforts, you may deduct $0.32 or be reimbursed 44.5 cents [IR-2005-138] [see IRS code Sec 170(i)]. However, travel expenses are deductible only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation associated with the travel and then limited to necessary lodging and meals while away from home overnight in rendering these services. For example, if you volunteered to help with a youth club campout, but visited friends along the way or spent time with your own family, you could not deduct these travel expenses.

IRS Volunteer Mileage Deduction: Volunteer Mileage Rate $0.14

When I donate, will I get a receipt?


When you donate directly to IMS via a check, Ann Cotton, our office manager, will give you receipt.

When you donate through Network for Good, you will always receive a confirmation e-mail, which will serve as your receipt. You also can print the confirmation page that appears on your computer screen after you’ve completed your contribution — that can also serve as a receipt. You should always keep a hard copy of your receipt for your tax records. A canceled check or credit card receipt is no longer allowed for any donation greater than $250. It is a good policy to obtain a receipt for any donation you make and most charities will issue one automatically.

I’ve heard that some donations aren’t fully tax-deductible, even if they’re to an IRS-recognized charity. Is that true?

Some contributions can be tax-deductible for less than the donated amount if the charity provides you with something of substantive value in return. Since IMS does not give you anything of substantive value in return, 100% of your donation to IMS is deductible.

I want to donate as much as I can this year. How can I do that, taking my own needs and expenses into consideration?

This would be a wonderful time to sit down with your own tax or financial advisor — he or she can help you decide how much you can give this year. There are also a number of online tools that can provide you with a rough estimate for giving, including the charitable giving calculator from the New Tithing Group.

How much can I legally deduct on my taxes for charitable contributions?

You can only deduct the amount of a contribution given voluntarily, with no expectation of a commensurate return. Generally speaking, you may deduct up to 50% of your aggregate gross income — half of your total income, subject to income phase-outs. There are some specific types of donations (such as gifts of stock, or donations to certain types of organizations) that have lower percentage ceilings.

Is it worth the time and effort to itemize just to get a deduction for charitable giving?

The answer to that varies from person to person and is subject to phase outs at higher income levels. The following table shows the automatic deduction the IRS provides. While this is more than most people contribute to charity in a year, there are other items that are included in this amount such as including interest on a home mortgage, medical expenses and business expenses that exceed certain base amounts, state taxes withheld, and real estate taxes paid. Your charitable donations in the form of cash and volunteer mileage may help to lower your tax bill. As with any major tax decision, confer with your own tax or financial advisor so you’re sure you get the most out of all your deductions.

Do I need to itemize my tax return to get a deduction for charitable giving?

Yes, you do. Donations are only tax-deductible if you itemize deductions on your tax return. When you file your taxes, you’ll need to itemize your donations on the Schedule A of the 1040 form.

Network for Good can help you keep track of your individual donations throughout the year with its innovative personal profile feature, which allows you to create a Donation History of the charities you have donated to, how much you’ve donated, and when.

I want my giving to be deductible for this tax year. Do I need to make a donation by a certain time?

Yes. Any donation you make on or by December 31, 2006 will qualify as a deduction for 2006. Any donations made in 2007 (even at 12:01 a.m. on New Year’s Day) go towards the 2007 tax year. So if you’re looking for a tax benefit for 2006, you’ll want to make that donation soon. The good news is that you can donate on Network for Good any day of the week, 24 hours a day. So it’s easy to get in that last-minute donation.

When I make a charitable contribution to IMS via a check or through Network for Good, is that contribution tax-deductible?

Absolutely! Every single charity featured on Network for Good qualifies for 501(c)(3) non-profit status from the IRS — and that means every donation you give counts as a tax-deductible donation.

When you make a donation through the Network for Good, be sure to save and/or print the confirmation e-mail you receive from Network for Good for your tax records.

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