I donated blood to a blood bank. Is that a charitable contribution?

Stephen Ganns, https://gannsblog.wordpress.com, dispels common myths about charitable tax deductions.  Dispelling the Contribution Myths!

The following items, agencies or entities are deductible as charitable contributions.

  • Money or property contributed to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques or other religious organizations.
  • Money or property given to Federal, State, and Local government, solely for public purposes, not political purposes.
  • Any non-profit schools and hospitals.
  • War veterans groups.

Another type of deductible charitable contribution may be expenses paid for a student living with you, if that student is sponsored by a qualified organization.

You may also deduct any out-of-pocket expenses when you serve as a volunteer for a qualified organization. This includes a mileage deduction.

Things that are commonly mistaken as charitable contributions, but are not include:

  • Money or property you give to civic leagues, social and sport clubs, labor unions and/or chamber of commerces and the like.
  • Also any foreign organizations or charities are not deductible except for certain Canadian, Mexican or Israeli charities.
  • Groups that are run for personal profit.
  • Groups whose purpose is to lobby for law changes.
  • Fees paid to a homeowners association.
  • Any individual, no matter how indigent they may be, does not qualify as a charitable contribution.
  • Political groups and/or candidates for public office are not qualified contributions.

Other types of items that do not qualify as charitable contributions are the cost of raffle or lottery tickets, dues or fees paid to country clubs, lodges, or fraternal orders, and tuition.

One of the most common questions I get asked when I prepare taxes is the value of people’s time and services. Time and services are not deductible as a charitable contribution. Nor is the value of blood given to a blood bank, which is another question that comes up now and then.

For a list of charities that qualify, please go to Charities & Non-Profits.

I hope this clears up some misinformation concerning charitable deductions, and that it helps clarify what types of organizations can be claimed as charitable contributions on your personal income taxes.

Please note that some of the organizations that do not qualify, especially indigent individuals, can still benefit from your donations. Let your conscience decide when and to whom you may want to give money and property.

If you have any questions about whether a group you have contributed to is deductible or not, please give me a call. I’ll be happy to help you.

Stephen J. Ganns

Stephen J. Ganns, CPA


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