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Level 1

charitable deduction from California state tax refund

California allows filers to donate to various charitable causes by reducing their refund. I did this in 2020 when filing my 2019 state tax return.  My 1099-G says I got the full refund without the reduction, so should I enter the reduction as a charitable donation? Two questions: (1) where in TurboTax do I enter this?  (2) I already have more than $300 deductions for donations, so would it make any difference?

4 Replies
Level 10

charitable deduction from California state tax refund

If you are taking the standard deduction and already have more than $300 in charitable cash donations, then you are correct that adding another donation is not going to change your refund or amount owed.  If you are taking itemized deductions, then there would be an impact on your final amounts owed or due.


You would enter the donation in TurboTax using these steps"



Deductions and Credits

Charitable Donations


For 2020 you can claim up to $300 in cash donations to charity and that amount is added to your standard deduction.



New Member

charitable deduction from California state tax refund

My cash contributions in 2020 were much more than the $300 added to my standard federal deduction.  CA Franchise Tax board website says "California limits cash contributions to 50 percent of your federal AGI." That 50% is well more than my total cash contributions.  So, can i put the total cash contribution amount as "addition" to "charitable contributions" (the Federal $300 was subtracted out) in the "other CA adjustments to income" section, and get the full deduction for my cash donations?

Expert Alumni

charitable deduction from California state tax refund

No, CA does not have a separate charity deduction. 


I believe you are saying you took the standard deduction on the federal and were only able to claim the $300 charity on federal. You did not give so much charity that you itemized on your federal return.


If you had itemized on the federal for charity, it would be on the state itemized.

The 50% limitation applies to your allowable charity deduction on itemized deductions for CA.


The $300 special charity write off this year is NOT allowed in CA and is being added to your income. You are not able to write off additional charity in CA. Read the screen again, the $300 charity is a subtraction that will increase your taxable income. 





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New Member

charitable deduction from California state tax refund

Hi, thx for reply.

No, we itemized our charity to the tune of over $9400.  But TurboTax said the standard deduction was best, as the feds limited our other deductions to just $10K (prop taxes in CA).  Franchise tax board advisor told me in chat that we could add the full cash deduction to our CA adjustments section.  We then filed.  Since then, I noted that TurboTax adjusted a piece of artwork DOWN in value, and when I corrected that, we now get a REFUND from CA, instead of owing.  So, we have to amend.  Arggh.

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