If you are not in business yourself, donations need to be made to qualified charitable organizations. These are organizations that have been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS and are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Donations or gifts to an individual or any organization that is not tax-exempt are not deductible.
Examples of qualified charitable organizations:
- Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and other religious organizations
- Charities like Goodwill, United Way, Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys/Girls Clubs of America
- Nonprofit schools, hospitals and volunteer fire departments
- Veterans' and certain cultural groups
- Public parks and recreation facilities
If you're not sure of the organization's charitable status, contact them directly or use the IRS Exempt Organizations Lookup Tool.
Sometimes, however, businesses that have received some benefit for the donation (ad space or marketing, for example) may deduct the payment as a business expense on a business return.
If you've provided capital towards a new business entity, it would seem that you could/should have an equity stake in the business. Otherwise, it's just a non-deductible gift.
Please feel free to post any additional details or questions in the comment section.
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