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db110
New Member

Charitable Carryover

In previous years I took a standard deduction, so can I fill in charitable donations from those years as part of an itemized deduction this year?

11 Replies
KarenJ2
Expert Alumni

Charitable Carryover

Unfortunately you cannot deduct contributions from a prior year.  If you are a US citizen or resident, you can only deduct contributions made to qualified organizations during the tax year.

 

Charitable Contribution Deductions

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Zill19
New Member

Charitable Carryover

So what is the point of a Charitable Carryover?  I also took the standard deduction in 16, 17 & 18.  So I never used my Charitable Deduction for those years.  If you can't make a contribution for a previous year this year, then shouldn't a non-used deduction from the previous year be used as a Carryover for this year?  Otherwise, what would a Carryover be?

JohnW222
Expert Alumni

Charitable Carryover

The amount of a contribution that a taxpayer can deduct when itemizing in a year is generally limited to a percentage of their adjusted gross income, but may be further reduced in certain situations. 

In this case, the taxpayer is allowed to carry over any unused contribution amounts to subsequent years when they itemize deductions.

Please see Limits on page 14 of IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions for more information.

The law doesn't allow you to amass contribution amounts in years that you claim the standard deduction, and then use contributions from multiple years once on a single year's itemized deduction schedule.

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bharrisn
Level 1

Charitable Carryover

In years past, I have always itemized until last year for the tax year 2018.  I did not have enough deductions, therefore I took the standard deduction.  I have always donated to several organizations, some cash, some clothing and furniture.  Can I combine last year's (2018) donations with my 2019 donations for the 2019 tax year.  I still don't believe I will have enough donations and probably wouldn't until 2020.  Is this permitted?

xmasbaby0
Level 15

Charitable Carryover

No, it is not permitted.  Read the other responses in the thread you posted to.  You can only use the donations you gave in 2019 on your 2019 return.  You cannot add the ones from 2018.  If you do not have enough itemized deductions then you get the standard deduction.  This is the situation for many people since the standard deduction was nearly doubled for returns for 2018 and beyond.  Fewer people are able to itemize.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
bharrisn
Level 1

Charitable Carryover

Thank you, that is what I thought, stay safe!!

smcneil2
New Member

Charitable Carryover

So why did TurboTax entered "carryover" data from tax years 2018 and 2019 (years that I took the Standard Deduction) to the current year 2020 where I itemized?  A Turbotax bug perhaps?

Opus 17
Level 15

Charitable Carryover


@smcneil2 wrote:

So why did TurboTax entered "carryover" data from tax years 2018 and 2019 (years that I took the Standard Deduction) to the current year 2020 where I itemized?  A Turbotax bug perhaps?


You are a late addition to the discussion with different facts, and no one here can see your tax return.

 

In general, you can't take the standard deduction and postpone your itemized deductions until you have enough.  You either itemize or take the standard deduction. 

 

For charitable contributions, if you make large donations (more than 50% of your adjusted gross income, for most charities), your deduction will be limited and you can carry the unused donations forward to the next tax year.  In that second tax year, you must apply your current year donations first, then the carryforwards.  If you are over the limit again, the excess is carried forward, for up to 5 years.

 

If you chose the standard deduction in a carry forward year, special rules apply that are not described in IRS publication 526 (the publication says they are too complicated and you should see a tax professional).  Reading the regulations, it appears that a plain language reading of the rule would mean that your carryforward is partially "used up" but is not necessarily forfeit.

 

For example.  Your taxable income in 2017 was $50,000, and you donated $100,000 to your church. Your charity deduction was limited to $50,000, with a $50,000 carry forward.  Then in 2018, your income was $25,000 and you donated $1000 to your church, but you took the standard deduction.  Your deduction limit would have been $12,500, and since you donated $1000, you are considered to have "used up" $11,500 of your carry forward, leaving a remaining carry forward of $13,500.  In 2019, your income was again $25,000 and you donated $1000 to your church, but you took the standard deduction.  Your deduction limit would have been $12,500, and since you donated $1000, you are considered to have "used up" $11,500 of your carry forward, leaving a remaining carry forward of $2,000.

 

This is not exactly right since for some years, the maximum carry forward was 60%, not 50%.  Also, it would be easier to hit the limits if we were talking about 20% or 30% limit donations (certain kinds of property, and certain exempt organizations.)

 

Turbotax will prepare a carry forward worksheet for each tax return.  It would be included in the PDF for "all forms and worksheets".  I would start by examining all the tax returns you are concerned about, find the worksheet, and see if you can follow the calculations accordingly.  

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
jcanoe-US73
Returning Member

Charitable Carryover

in 2018 I listed all my charitable contributions....the organizations have to be listed as well

in 2019 (on purpose) I took the standard deduction

Now in 2020 I am going back to listing all deductions.  

How can I find the list of charitable contributions of made in 2018.   (To enter them all over again is painfully tedious.

JotikaT2
Expert Alumni

Charitable Carryover

You cannot carry them forward if they were only listed in your tax return from 2018 but not 2019.  You will need to enter them again. 

 

Please see the link below for options to enter your charitable contributions. 

 

Entering donations in TurboTax

 

You may find using It's Deductible a better option for you to save your activity from year to year.

 

What is ItsDeductible

 

@jcanoe-US73

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Opus 17
Level 15

Charitable Carryover


@jcanoe-US73 wrote:

in 2018 I listed all my charitable contributions....the organizations have to be listed as well

in 2019 (on purpose) I took the standard deduction

Now in 2020 I am going back to listing all deductions.  

How can I find the list of charitable contributions of made in 2018.   (To enter them all over again is painfully tedious.


If you look at your 2018 return PDF for "all forms and worksheets" you may find a worksheet detailing the charity donations.  Unfortunately, you can't automatically import the names from your 2018 return.  If you had entered the donations for 2019 (even though you then took the standard) then the names should carry forward, but there is no way to import the names from 2018 to 2020.

 

It should be simpler this year, I don't know when Turbotax modified the entry, but for money donations (cash, check, charge) you no longer have to enter the charity address, just the name, or at least that was true in the Desktop version.  I believe the full address is only needed for donations of property over $500. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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