Filing Your Taxes Online is Fast, Easy and Secure.
Start now and receive your tax refund in as little as 7 days.

1. Get Answers

Your online questions are customized to your unique tax situation.

2. Maximize your Refund

Find tax credits for everything from school tuition to buying a hybri

3. E-File for FREE

E-file free with direct deposit to get your refund in as few as 7 days.

Filing your taxes with paper mail can be difficult and it could take weeks for your refund to arrive. IRS e-file is easy, fast and secure. There is no paperwork going to the IRS so tax refunds can be processed in as little as 7 days with direct deposit. As you prepare your taxes online, you can see your tax refund in real time.

FREE audit support and representation from an enrolled agent – NEW and only from H&R Block

File 2011 Taxes Free

Statetaxreturn2009 Tax SoftwareCan You File Taxes On UnemploymentOhio Free FileAmendmentsAmend Tax Return OnlineTaxesFederal Income Tax FormsFree Tax Filing For StudentsHrblock FreereturnFederal Tax Form 1040ez2012 Tax ReturnsMilitary Tax HelpTax Software 2011Free Tax SitesState Taxes Online FreeFree 2012 Tax SoftwarePrior Year Tax ReturnsFile 2011 Taxes In 2013 Free2011 Tax Forms 1040 EzFile 2011 Tax Return FreeTurbotax Login Online2011 State Tax FormsPrintable 1040ez FormCan Tax Form 1040x Be Filed OnlineHow To File My 2012 Tax ReturnCan I File A 1040x OnlineFiling 2012 TaxesIrs 2012 Tax Forms 1040ezTax Software FreeH&rblockState Tax Online2011 Taxact2010 1040ez FormAmending A Tax ReturnH&r Block Advantage Free FileIrs Filing ExtensionTax Easy FormTurbo Tax 2012Aarp Free Tax Preparation

File 2011 Taxes Free

File 2011 taxes free 24. File 2011 taxes free   Contributions Table of Contents Introduction Useful Items - You may want to see: Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible ContributionsTypes of Qualified Organizations Contributions You Can DeductContributions From Which You Benefit Expenses Paid for Student Living With You Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services Contributions You Cannot DeductContributions to Individuals Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations Contributions From Which You Benefit Value of Time or Services Personal Expenses Appraisal Fees Contributions of PropertyException. File 2011 taxes free Household items. File 2011 taxes free Deduction more than $500. File 2011 taxes free Form 1098-C. File 2011 taxes free Filing deadline approaching and still no Form 1098-C. File 2011 taxes free Exception 1—vehicle used or improved by organization. File 2011 taxes free Exception 2—vehicle given or sold to needy individual. File 2011 taxes free Deduction $500 or less. File 2011 taxes free Right to use property. File 2011 taxes free Tangible personal property. File 2011 taxes free Future interest. File 2011 taxes free Determining Fair Market Value Giving Property That Has Decreased in Value Giving Property That Has Increased in Value When To DeductChecks. File 2011 taxes free Text message. File 2011 taxes free Credit card. File 2011 taxes free Pay-by-phone account. File 2011 taxes free Stock certificate. File 2011 taxes free Promissory note. File 2011 taxes free Option. File 2011 taxes free Borrowed funds. File 2011 taxes free Limits on DeductionsCarryovers Records To KeepCash Contributions Noncash Contributions Out-of-Pocket Expenses How To Report Introduction This chapter explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. File 2011 taxes free It discusses the following topics. File 2011 taxes free The types of organizations to which you can make deductible charitable contributions. File 2011 taxes free The types of contributions you can deduct. File 2011 taxes free How much you can deduct. File 2011 taxes free What records you must keep. File 2011 taxes free How to report your charitable contributions. File 2011 taxes free A charitable contribution is a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value. File 2011 taxes free Form 1040 required. File 2011 taxes free    To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. File 2011 taxes free The amount of your deduction may be limited if certain rules and limits explained in this chapter apply to you. File 2011 taxes free The limits are explained in detail in Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 526 Charitable Contributions 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property Form (and Instructions) Schedule A (Form 1040) Itemized Deductions 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions You can deduct your contributions only if you make them to a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free Most organizations other than churches and governments must apply to the IRS to become a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free How to check whether an organization can receive deductible charitable contributions. File 2011 taxes free   You can ask any organization whether it is a qualified organization, and most will be able to tell you. File 2011 taxes free Or go to IRS. File 2011 taxes free gov. File 2011 taxes free Click on “Tools” and then on “Exempt Organizations Select Check” (www. File 2011 taxes free irs. File 2011 taxes free gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check). File 2011 taxes free This online tool will enable you to search for qualified organizations. File 2011 taxes free You can also call the IRS to find out if an organization is qualified. File 2011 taxes free Call 1-877-829-5500. File 2011 taxes free People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and who have access to TTY/TDD equipment can call 1-800-829-4059. File 2011 taxes free Deaf or hard of hearing individuals can also contact the IRS through relay services such as the Federal Relay Service at www. File 2011 taxes free gsa. File 2011 taxes free gov/fedrelay. File 2011 taxes free Types of Qualified Organizations Generally, only the following types of organizations can be qualified organizations. File 2011 taxes free A community chest, corporation, trust, fund, or foundation organized or created in or under the laws of the United States, any state, the District of Columbia, or any possession of the United States (including Puerto Rico). File 2011 taxes free It must, however, be organized and operated only for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. File 2011 taxes free Certain organizations that foster national or international amateur sports competition also qualify. File 2011 taxes free War veterans' organizations, including posts, auxiliaries, trusts, or foundations, organized in the United States or any of its possessions (including Puerto Rico). File 2011 taxes free Domestic fraternal societies, orders, and associations operating under the lodge system. File 2011 taxes free (Your contribution to this type of organization is deductible only if it is to be used solely for charitable, religious, scientific, literary, or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. File 2011 taxes free ) Certain nonprofit cemetery companies or corporations. File 2011 taxes free (Your contribution to this type of organization is not deductible if it can be used for the care of a specific lot or mausoleum crypt. File 2011 taxes free ) The United States or any state, the District of Columbia, a U. File 2011 taxes free S. File 2011 taxes free possession (including Puerto Rico), a political subdivision of a state or U. File 2011 taxes free S. File 2011 taxes free possession, or an Indian tribal government or any of its subdivisions that perform substantial government functions. File 2011 taxes free (Your contribution to this type of organization is only deductible if it is to be used solely for public purposes. File 2011 taxes free ) Examples. File 2011 taxes free    The following list gives some examples of qualified organizations. File 2011 taxes free Churches, a convention or association of churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations. File 2011 taxes free Most nonprofit charitable organizations such as the American Red Cross and the United Way. File 2011 taxes free Most nonprofit educational organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, colleges, and museums. File 2011 taxes free This also includes nonprofit daycare centers that provide childcare to the general public if substantially all the childcare is provided to enable parents and guardians to be gainfully employed. File 2011 taxes free However, if your contribution is a substitute for tuition or other enrollment fee, it is not deductible as a charitable contribution, as explained later under Contributions You Cannot Deduct . File 2011 taxes free Nonprofit hospitals and medical research organizations. File 2011 taxes free Utility company emergency energy programs, if the utility company is an agent for a charitable organization that assists individuals with emergency energy needs. File 2011 taxes free Nonprofit volunteer fire companies. File 2011 taxes free Nonprofit organizations that develop and maintain public parks and recreation facilities. File 2011 taxes free Civil defense organizations. File 2011 taxes free Certain foreign charitable organizations. File 2011 taxes free   Under income tax treaties with Canada, Israel, and Mexico, you may be able to deduct contributions to certain Canadian, Israeli, or Mexican charitable organizations. File 2011 taxes free Generally, you must have income from sources in that country. File 2011 taxes free For additional information on the deduction of contributions to Canadian charities, see Publication 597, Information on the United States–Canada Income Tax Treaty. File 2011 taxes free If you need more information on how to figure your contribution to Mexican and Israeli charities, see Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free Contributions You Can Deduct Generally, you can deduct contributions of money or property you make to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free A contribution is “for the use of” a qualified organization when it is held in a legally enforceable trust for the qualified organization or in a similar legal arrangement. File 2011 taxes free The contributions must be made to a qualified organization and not set aside for use by a specific person. File 2011 taxes free If you give property to a qualified organization, you generally can deduct the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free See Contributions of Property , later in this chapter. File 2011 taxes free Your deduction for charitable contributions generally cannot be more than 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), but in some cases 20% and 30% limits may apply. File 2011 taxes free See Limits on Deductions , later. File 2011 taxes free In addition, the total of your charitable contribution deduction and certain other itemized deductions may be limited. File 2011 taxes free See chapter 29. File 2011 taxes free Table 24-1 gives examples of contributions you can and cannot deduct. File 2011 taxes free Contributions From Which You Benefit If you receive a benefit as a result of making a contribution to a qualified organization, you can deduct only the amount of your contribution that is more than the value of the benefit you receive. File 2011 taxes free Also see Contributions From Which You Benefit under Contributions You Cannot Deduct, later. File 2011 taxes free If you pay more than fair market value to a qualified organization for goods or services, the excess may be a charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free For the excess amount to qualify, you must pay it with the intent to make a charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free Example 1. File 2011 taxes free You pay $65 for a ticket to a dinner-dance at a church. File 2011 taxes free Your entire $65 payment goes to the church. File 2011 taxes free The ticket to the dinner-dance has a fair market value of $25. File 2011 taxes free When you buy your ticket, you know that its value is less than your payment. File 2011 taxes free To figure the amount of your charitable contribution, subtract the value of the benefit you receive ($25) from your total payment ($65). File 2011 taxes free You can deduct $40 as a contribution to the church. File 2011 taxes free Example 2. File 2011 taxes free At a fundraising auction conducted by a charity, you pay $600 for a week's stay at a beach house. File 2011 taxes free The amount you pay is no more than the fair rental value. File 2011 taxes free You have not made a deductible charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free Athletic events. File 2011 taxes free   If you make a payment to, or for the benefit of, a college or university and, as a result, you receive the right to buy tickets to an athletic event in the athletic stadium of the college or university, you can deduct 80% of the payment as a charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free   If any part of your payment is for tickets (rather than the right to buy tickets), that part is not deductible. File 2011 taxes free Subtract the price of the tickets from your payment. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct 80% of the remaining amount as a charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free Example 1. File 2011 taxes free You pay $300 a year for membership in a university's athletic scholarship program. File 2011 taxes free The only benefit of membership is that you have the right to buy one season ticket for a seat in a designated area of the stadium at the university's home football games. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct $240 (80% of $300) as a charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free Table 24-1. File 2011 taxes free Examples of Charitable Contributions—A Quick Check Use the following lists for a quick check of whether you can deduct a contribution. File 2011 taxes free See the rest of this chapter for more information and additional rules and limits that may apply. File 2011 taxes free Deductible As  Charitable Contributions Not Deductible  As Charitable Contributions Money or property you give to:  Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious organizations Federal, state, and local governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce the public debt or maintain a public park) Nonprofit schools and hospitals The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc. File 2011 taxes free War veterans groups   Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization  Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer Money or property you give to:  Civic leagues, social and sports clubs, labor unions, and chambers of commerce Foreign organizations (except certain Canadian, Israeli, and Mexican charities) Groups that are run for personal profit Groups whose purpose is to lobby for law changes Homeowners' associations Individuals Political groups or candidates for public office   Cost of raffle, bingo, or lottery tickets  Dues, fees, or bills paid to country clubs, lodges, fraternal orders, or similar groups  Tuition  Value of your time or services  Value of blood given to a blood bank    Example 2. File 2011 taxes free The facts are the same as in Example 1 except your $300 payment includes the purchase of one season ticket for the stated ticket price of $120. File 2011 taxes free You must subtract the usual price of a ticket ($120) from your $300 payment. File 2011 taxes free The result is $180. File 2011 taxes free Your deductible charitable contribution is $144 (80% of $180). File 2011 taxes free Charity benefit events. File 2011 taxes free   If you pay a qualified organization more than fair market value for the right to attend a charity ball, banquet, show, sporting event, or other benefit event, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the value of the privileges or other benefits you receive. File 2011 taxes free   If there is an established charge for the event, that charge is the value of your benefit. File 2011 taxes free If there is no established charge, the reasonable value of the right to attend the event is the value of your benefit. File 2011 taxes free Whether you use the tickets or other privileges has no effect on the amount you can deduct. File 2011 taxes free However, if you return the ticket to the qualified organization for resale, you can deduct the entire amount you paid for the ticket. File 2011 taxes free    Even if the ticket or other evidence of payment indicates that the payment is a “contribution,” this does not mean you can deduct the entire amount. File 2011 taxes free If the ticket shows the price of admission and the amount of the contribution, you can deduct the contribution amount. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free You pay $40 to see a special showing of a movie for the benefit of a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free Printed on the ticket is “Contribution—$40. File 2011 taxes free ” If the regular price for the movie is $8, your contribution is $32 ($40 payment − $8 regular price). File 2011 taxes free Membership fees or dues. File 2011 taxes free    You may be able to deduct membership fees or dues you pay to a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free However, you can deduct only the amount that is more than the value of the benefits you receive. File 2011 taxes free    You cannot deduct dues, fees, or assessments paid to country clubs and other social organizations. File 2011 taxes free They are not qualified organizations. File 2011 taxes free Certain membership benefits can be disregarded. File 2011 taxes free   Both you and the organization can disregard the following membership benefits if you receive them in return for an annual payment of $75 or less. File 2011 taxes free Any rights or privileges, other than those discussed under Athletic events , earlier, that you can use frequently while you are a member, such as: Free or discounted admission to the organization's facilities or events, Free or discounted parking, Preferred access to goods or services, and Discounts on the purchase of goods and services. File 2011 taxes free Admission, while you are a member, to events open only to members of the organization, if the organization reasonably projects that the cost per person (excluding any allocated overhead) is not more than $10. File 2011 taxes free 20. File 2011 taxes free Token items. File 2011 taxes free   You do not have to reduce your contribution by the value of any benefit you receive if both of the following are true. File 2011 taxes free You receive only a small item or other benefit of token value. File 2011 taxes free The qualified organization correctly determines that the value of the item or benefit you received is not substantial and informs you that you can deduct your payment in full. File 2011 taxes free Written statement. File 2011 taxes free   A qualified organization must give you a written statement if you make a payment of more than $75 that is partly a contribution and partly for goods or services. File 2011 taxes free The statement must say that you can deduct only the amount of your payment that is more than the value of the goods or services you received. File 2011 taxes free It must also give you a good faith estimate of the value of those goods or services. File 2011 taxes free   The organization can give you the statement either when it solicits or when it receives the payment from you. File 2011 taxes free Exception. File 2011 taxes free   An organization will not have to give you this statement if one of the following is true. File 2011 taxes free The organization is: A governmental organization described in (5) under Types of Qualified Organizations , earlier, or An organization formed only for religious purposes, and the only benefit you receive is an intangible religious benefit (such as admission to a religious ceremony) that generally is not sold in commercial transactions outside the donative context. File 2011 taxes free You receive only items whose value is not substantial as described under Token items , earlier. File 2011 taxes free You receive only membership benefits that can be disregarded, as described earlier. File 2011 taxes free Expenses Paid for Student Living With You You may be able to deduct some expenses of having a student live with you. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct qualifying expenses for a foreign or American student who: Lives in your home under a written agreement between you and a qualified organization as part of a program of the organization to provide educational opportunities for the student, Is not your relative or dependent, and Is a full-time student in the twelfth or any lower grade at a school in the United States. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct up to $50 a month for each full calendar month the student lives with you. File 2011 taxes free Any month when conditions (1) through (3) are met for 15 days or more counts as a full month. File 2011 taxes free For additional information, see Expenses Paid for Student Living With You in Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free Mutual exchange program. File 2011 taxes free   You cannot deduct the costs of a foreign student living in your home under a mutual exchange program through which your child will live with a family in a foreign country. File 2011 taxes free Table 24-2. File 2011 taxes free Volunteers' Questions and Answers If you volunteer for a qualified organization, the following questions and answers may apply to you. File 2011 taxes free All of the rules explained in this chapter also apply. File 2011 taxes free See, in particular, Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services . File 2011 taxes free Question Answer I volunteer 6 hours a week in the office of a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free The receptionist is paid $10 an hour for the same work. File 2011 taxes free Can I deduct $60 a week for my time?    No, you cannot deduct the value of your time or services. File 2011 taxes free The office is 30 miles from my home. File 2011 taxes free Can I deduct any of my car expenses for these trips? Yes, you can deduct the costs of gas and oil that are directly related to getting to and from the place where you volunteer. File 2011 taxes free If you don't want to figure your actual costs, you can deduct 14 cents for each mile. File 2011 taxes free I volunteer as a Red Cross nurse's aide at a hospital. File 2011 taxes free Can I deduct the cost of the uniforms I must wear? Yes, you can deduct the cost of buying and cleaning your uniforms if the hospital is a qualified organization, the uniforms are not suitable for everyday use, and you must wear them when volunteering. File 2011 taxes free I pay a babysitter to watch my children while I volunteer for a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free Can I deduct these costs? No, you cannot deduct payments for childcare expenses as a charitable contribution, even if you would be unable to volunteer without childcare. File 2011 taxes free (If you have childcare expenses so you can work for pay, see chapter 32. File 2011 taxes free ) Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services Although you cannot deduct the value of your services given to a qualified organization, you may be able to deduct some amounts you pay in giving services to a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free The amounts must be: Unreimbursed, Directly connected with the services, Expenses you had only because of the services you gave, and Not personal, living, or family expenses. File 2011 taxes free Table 24-2 contains questions and answers that apply to some individuals who volunteer their services. File 2011 taxes free Conventions. File 2011 taxes free   If a qualified organization selects you to attend a convention as its representative, you can deduct unreimbursed expenses for travel, including reasonable amounts for meals and lodging, while away from home overnight in connection with the convention. File 2011 taxes free However, see Travel , later. File 2011 taxes free   You cannot deduct personal expenses for sightseeing, fishing parties, theater tickets, or nightclubs. File 2011 taxes free You also cannot deduct transportation, meals and lodging, and other expenses for your spouse or children. File 2011 taxes free    You cannot deduct your travel expenses in attending a church convention if you go only as a member of your church rather than as a chosen representative. File 2011 taxes free You can, however, deduct unreimbursed expenses that are directly connected with giving services for your church during the convention. File 2011 taxes free Uniforms. File 2011 taxes free   You can deduct the cost and upkeep of uniforms that are not suitable for everyday use and that you must wear while performing donated services for a charitable organization. File 2011 taxes free Foster parents. File 2011 taxes free   You may be able to deduct as a charitable contribution some of the costs of being a foster parent (foster care provider) if you have no profit motive in providing the foster care and are not, in fact, making a profit. File 2011 taxes free A qualified organization must select the individuals you take into your home for foster care. File 2011 taxes free    You can deduct expenses that meet both of the following requirements. File 2011 taxes free They are unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses to feed, clothe, and care for the foster child. File 2011 taxes free They are incurred primarily to benefit the qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free   Unreimbursed expenses that you cannot deduct as charitable contributions may be considered support provided by you in determining whether you can claim the foster child as a dependent. File 2011 taxes free For details, see chapter 3. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free You cared for a foster child because you wanted to adopt her, not to benefit the agency that placed her in your home. File 2011 taxes free Your unreimbursed expenses are not deductible as charitable contributions. File 2011 taxes free Car expenses. File 2011 taxes free   You can deduct as a charitable contribution any unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, such as the cost of gas and oil, that are directly related to the use of your car in giving services to a charitable organization. File 2011 taxes free You cannot deduct general repair and maintenance expenses, depreciation, registration fees, or the costs of tires or insurance. File 2011 taxes free    If you do not want to deduct your actual expenses, you can use a standard mileage rate of 14 cents a mile to figure your contribution. File 2011 taxes free   You can deduct parking fees and tolls whether you use your actual expenses or the standard mileage rate. File 2011 taxes free   You must keep reliable written records of your car expenses. File 2011 taxes free For more information, see Car expenses under Records To Keep, later. File 2011 taxes free Travel. File 2011 taxes free   Generally, you can claim a charitable contribution deduction for travel expenses necessarily incurred while you are away from home performing services for a charitable organization only if there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation in the travel. File 2011 taxes free This applies whether you pay the expenses directly or indirectly. File 2011 taxes free You are paying the expenses indirectly if you make a payment to the charitable organization and the organization pays for your travel expenses. File 2011 taxes free   The deduction for travel expenses will not be denied simply because you enjoy providing services to the charitable organization. File 2011 taxes free Even if you enjoy the trip, you can take a charitable contribution deduction for your travel expenses if you are on duty in a genuine and substantial sense throughout the trip. File 2011 taxes free However, if you have only nominal duties, or if for significant parts of the trip you do not have any duties, you cannot deduct your travel expenses. File 2011 taxes free Example 1. File 2011 taxes free You are a troop leader for a tax-exempt youth group and you take the group on a camping trip. File 2011 taxes free You are responsible for overseeing the setup of the camp and for providing adult supervision for other activities during the entire trip. File 2011 taxes free You participate in the activities of the group and enjoy your time with them. File 2011 taxes free You oversee the breaking of camp and you transport the group home. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct your travel expenses. File 2011 taxes free Example 2. File 2011 taxes free You sail from one island to another and spend 8 hours a day counting whales and other forms of marine life. File 2011 taxes free The project is sponsored by a charitable organization. File 2011 taxes free In most circumstances, you cannot deduct your expenses. File 2011 taxes free Example 3. File 2011 taxes free You work for several hours each morning on an archaeological dig sponsored by a charitable organization. File 2011 taxes free The rest of the day is free for recreation and sightseeing. File 2011 taxes free You cannot take a charitable contribution deduction even though you work very hard during those few hours. File 2011 taxes free Example 4. File 2011 taxes free You spend the entire day attending a charitable organization's regional meeting as a chosen representative. File 2011 taxes free In the evening you go to the theater. File 2011 taxes free You can claim your travel expenses as charitable contributions, but you cannot claim the cost of your evening at the theater. File 2011 taxes free Daily allowance (per diem). File 2011 taxes free   If you provide services for a charitable organization and receive a daily allowance to cover reasonable travel expenses, including meals and lodging while away from home overnight, you must include in income any part of the allowance that is more than your deductible travel expenses. File 2011 taxes free You may be able to deduct any necessary travel expenses that are more than the allowance. File 2011 taxes free Deductible travel expenses. File 2011 taxes free   These include: Air, rail, and bus transportation, Out-of-pocket expenses for your car, Taxi fares or other costs of transportation between the airport or station and your hotel, Lodging costs, and The cost of meals. File 2011 taxes free Because these travel expenses are not business-related, they are not subject to the same limits as business-related expenses. File 2011 taxes free For information on business travel expenses, see Travel Expenses in chapter 26. File 2011 taxes free Contributions You Cannot Deduct There are some contributions you cannot deduct, such as those made to specific individuals and those made to nonqualified organizations. File 2011 taxes free (See Contributions to Individuals and Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations , next. File 2011 taxes free ) There are others you can deduct only part of, as discussed later under Contributions From Which You Benefit . File 2011 taxes free Contributions to Individuals You cannot deduct contributions to specific individuals, including the following. File 2011 taxes free Contributions to fraternal societies made for the purpose of paying medical or burial expenses of deceased members. File 2011 taxes free Contributions to individuals who are needy or worthy. File 2011 taxes free You cannot deduct these contributions even if you make them to a qualified organization for the benefit of a specific person. File 2011 taxes free But you can deduct a contribution to a qualified organization that helps needy or worthy individuals if you do not indicate that your contribution is for a specific person. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct contributions to a qualified organization for flood relief, hurricane relief, or other disaster relief. File 2011 taxes free However, you cannot deduct contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family. File 2011 taxes free Payments to a member of the clergy that can be spent as he or she wishes, such as for personal expenses. File 2011 taxes free Expenses you paid for another person who provided services to a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free Your son does missionary work. File 2011 taxes free You pay his expenses. File 2011 taxes free You cannot claim a deduction for your son's unreimbursed expenses related to his contribution of services. File 2011 taxes free Payments to a hospital that are for a specific patient's care or for services for a specific patient. File 2011 taxes free You cannot deduct these payments even if the hospital is operated by a city, a state, or other qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free Contributions to Nonqualified Organizations You cannot deduct contributions to organizations that are not qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions, including the following. File 2011 taxes free Certain state bar associations if: The bar is not a political subdivision of a state, The bar has private, as well as public, purposes, such as promoting the professional interests of members, and Your contribution is unrestricted and can be used for private purposes. File 2011 taxes free Chambers of commerce and other business leagues or organizations (but see chapter 28). File 2011 taxes free Civic leagues and associations. File 2011 taxes free Communist organizations. File 2011 taxes free Country clubs and other social clubs. File 2011 taxes free Most foreign organizations (other than certain Canadian, Israeli, or Mexican charitable organizations). File 2011 taxes free For details, see Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free Homeowners' associations. File 2011 taxes free Labor unions (but see chapter 28). File 2011 taxes free Political organizations and candidates. File 2011 taxes free Contributions From Which You Benefit If you receive or expect to receive a financial or economic benefit as a result of making a contribution to a qualified organization, you cannot deduct the part of the contribution that represents the value of the benefit you receive. File 2011 taxes free See Contributions From Which You Benefit under Contributions You Can Deduct, earlier. File 2011 taxes free These contributions include the following. File 2011 taxes free Contributions for lobbying. File 2011 taxes free This includes amounts that you earmark for use in, or in connection with, influencing specific legislation. File 2011 taxes free Contributions to a retirement home for room, board, maintenance, or admittance. File 2011 taxes free Also, if the amount of your contribution depends on the type or size of apartment you will occupy, it is not a charitable contribution. File 2011 taxes free Costs of raffles, bingo, lottery, etc. File 2011 taxes free You cannot deduct as a charitable contribution amounts you pay to buy raffle or lottery tickets or to play bingo or other games of chance. File 2011 taxes free For information on how to report gambling winnings and losses, see Gambling winnings in chapter 12 and Gambling Losses Up to the Amount of Gambling Winnings in chapter 28. File 2011 taxes free Dues to fraternal orders and similar groups. File 2011 taxes free However, see Membership fees or dues , earlier, under Contributions You Can Deduct. File 2011 taxes free Tuition, or amounts you pay instead of tuition. File 2011 taxes free You cannot deduct as a charitable contribution amounts you pay as tuition even if you pay them for children to attend parochial schools or qualifying nonprofit daycare centers. File 2011 taxes free You also cannot deduct any fixed amount you must pay in addition to, or instead of, tuition to enroll in a private school, even if it is designated as a “donation. File 2011 taxes free ” Value of Time or Services You cannot deduct the value of your time or services, including: Blood donations to the American Red Cross or to blood banks, and The value of income lost while you work as an unpaid volunteer for a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free Personal Expenses You cannot deduct personal, living, or family expenses, such as the following items. File 2011 taxes free The cost of meals you eat while you perform services for a qualified organization unless it is necessary for you to be away from home overnight while performing the services. File 2011 taxes free Adoption expenses, including fees paid to an adoption agency and the costs of keeping a child in your home before adoption is final (but see Adoption Credit in chapter 37, and the instructions for Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses). File 2011 taxes free You also may be able to claim an exemption for the child. File 2011 taxes free See Adopted child in chapter 3. File 2011 taxes free Appraisal Fees You cannot deduct as a charitable contribution any fees you pay to find the fair market value of donated property (but see chapter 28). File 2011 taxes free Contributions of Property If you contribute property to a qualified organization, the amount of your charitable contribution is generally the fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free However, if the property has increased in value, you may have to make some adjustments to the amount of your deduction. File 2011 taxes free See Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. File 2011 taxes free For information about the records you must keep and the information you must furnish with your return if you donate property, see Records To Keep and How To Report , later. File 2011 taxes free Clothing and household items. File 2011 taxes free   You cannot take a deduction for clothing or household items you donate unless the clothing or household items are in good used condition or better. File 2011 taxes free Exception. File 2011 taxes free   You can take a deduction for a contribution of an item of clothing or household item that is not in good used condition or better if you deduct more than $500 for it and include a qualified appraisal of it with your return. File 2011 taxes free Household items. File 2011 taxes free   Household items include: Furniture and furnishings, Electronics, Appliances, Linens, and Other similar items. File 2011 taxes free   Household items do not include: Food, Paintings, antiques, and other objects of art, Jewelry and gems, and Collections. File 2011 taxes free Cars, boats, and airplanes. File 2011 taxes free    The following rules apply to any donation of a qualified vehicle. File 2011 taxes free A qualified vehicle is: A car or any motor vehicle manufactured mainly for use on public streets, roads, and highways, A boat, or An airplane. File 2011 taxes free Deduction more than $500. File 2011 taxes free   If you donate a qualified vehicle with a claimed fair market value of more than $500, you can deduct the smaller of: The gross proceeds from the sale of the vehicle by the organization, or The vehicle's fair market value on the date of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free If the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to figure the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. File 2011 taxes free Form 1098-C. File 2011 taxes free   You must attach to your return Copy B of the Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, (or other statement containing the same information as Form 1098-C) you received from the organization. File 2011 taxes free The Form 1098-C (or other statement) will show the gross proceeds from the sale of the vehicle. File 2011 taxes free   If you e-file your return, you must: Attach Copy B of Form 1098-C to Form 8453 and mail the forms to the IRS, or Include Copy B of Form 1098-C as a pdf attachment if your software program allows it. File 2011 taxes free   If you do not attach Form 1098-C (or other statement), you cannot deduct your contribution. File 2011 taxes free    You must get Form 1098-C (or other statement) within 30 days of the sale of the vehicle. File 2011 taxes free But if exception 1 or 2 (described later) applies, you must get Form 1098-C (or other statement) within 30 days of your donation. File 2011 taxes free Filing deadline approaching and still no Form 1098-C. File 2011 taxes free   If the filing deadline is approaching and you still do not have a Form 1098-C, you have two choices. File 2011 taxes free Request an automatic 6-month extension of time to file your return. File 2011 taxes free You can get this extension by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U. File 2011 taxes free S. File 2011 taxes free Individual Income Tax Return. File 2011 taxes free  For more information, see Automatic Extension in chapter 1. File 2011 taxes free File the return on time without claiming the deduction for the qualified vehicle. File 2011 taxes free After receiving the Form 1098-C, file an amended return, Form 1040X, claiming the deduction. File 2011 taxes free Attach Copy B of Form 1098-C (or other statement) to the amended return. File 2011 taxes free For more information about amended returns, see Amended Returns and Claims for Refund in chapter 1. File 2011 taxes free Exceptions. File 2011 taxes free   There are two exceptions to the rules just described for deductions of more than $500. File 2011 taxes free Exception 1—vehicle used or improved by organization. File 2011 taxes free   If the qualified organization makes a significant intervening use of or material improvement to the vehicle before transferring it, you generally can deduct the vehicle's fair market value at the time of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free But if the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to get the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. File 2011 taxes free The Form 1098-C (or other statement) will show whether this exception applies. File 2011 taxes free Exception 2—vehicle given or sold to needy individual. File 2011 taxes free   If the qualified organization will give the vehicle, or sell it for a price well below fair market value, to a needy individual to further the organization's charitable purpose, you generally can deduct the vehicle's fair market value at the time of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free But if the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to get the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. File 2011 taxes free The Form 1098-C (or other statement) will show whether this exception applies. File 2011 taxes free   This exception does not apply if the organization sells the vehicle at auction. File 2011 taxes free In that case, you cannot deduct the vehicle's fair market value. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free Anita donates a used car to a qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free She bought it 3 years ago for $9,000. File 2011 taxes free A used car guide shows the fair market value for this type of car is $6,000. File 2011 taxes free However, Anita gets a Form 1098-C from the organization showing the car was sold for $2,900. File 2011 taxes free Neither exception 1 nor exception 2 applies. File 2011 taxes free If Anita itemizes her deductions, she can deduct $2,900 for her donation. File 2011 taxes free She must attach Form 1098-C and Form 8283 to her return. File 2011 taxes free Deduction $500 or less. File 2011 taxes free   If the qualified organization sells the vehicle for $500 or less and exceptions 1 and 2 do not apply, you can deduct the smaller of: $500, or The vehicle's fair market value on the date of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free But if the vehicle's fair market value was more than your cost or other basis, you may have to reduce the fair market value to get the deductible amount, as described under Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , later. File 2011 taxes free   If the vehicle's fair market value is at least $250 but not more than $500, you must have a written statement from the qualified organization acknowledging your donation. File 2011 taxes free The statement must contain the information and meet the tests for an acknowledgment described under Deductions of At Least $250 But Not More Than $500 under Records To Keep, later. File 2011 taxes free Partial interest in property. File 2011 taxes free   Generally, you cannot deduct a charitable contribution of less than your entire interest in property. File 2011 taxes free Right to use property. File 2011 taxes free   A contribution of the right to use property is a contribution of less than your entire interest in that property and is not deductible. File 2011 taxes free For exceptions and more information, see Partial Interest in Property Not in Trust in Publication 561. File 2011 taxes free Future interests in tangible personal property. File 2011 taxes free   You cannot deduct the value of a charitable contribution of a future interest in tangible personal property until all intervening interests in and rights to the actual possession or enjoyment of the property have either expired or been turned over to someone other than yourself, a related person, or a related organization. File 2011 taxes free Tangible personal property. File 2011 taxes free   This is any property, other than land or buildings, that can be seen or touched. File 2011 taxes free It includes furniture, books, jewelry, paintings, and cars. File 2011 taxes free Future interest. File 2011 taxes free   This is any interest that is to begin at some future time, regardless of whether it is designated as a future interest under state law. File 2011 taxes free Determining Fair Market Value This section discusses general guidelines for determining the fair market value of various types of donated property. File 2011 taxes free Publication 561 contains a more complete discussion. File 2011 taxes free Fair market value is the price at which property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither having to buy or sell, and both having reasonable knowledge of all the relevant facts. File 2011 taxes free Used clothing and household items. File 2011 taxes free   The fair market value of used clothing and household goods is usually far less than what you paid for them when they were new. File 2011 taxes free   For used clothing, you should claim as the value the price that buyers of used items actually pay in used clothing stores, such as consignment or thrift shops. File 2011 taxes free See Household Goods in Publication 561 for information on the valuation of household goods, such as furniture, appliances, and linens. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free Dawn Greene donated a coat to a thrift store operated by her church. File 2011 taxes free She paid $300 for the coat 3 years ago. File 2011 taxes free Similar coats in the thrift store sell for $50. File 2011 taxes free The fair market value of the coat is $50. File 2011 taxes free Dawn's donation is limited to $50. File 2011 taxes free Cars, boats, and airplanes. File 2011 taxes free   If you contribute a car, boat, or airplane to a charitable organization, you must determine its fair market value. File 2011 taxes free Certain commercial firms and trade organizations publish used car pricing guides, commonly called “blue books,” containing complete dealer sale prices or dealer average prices for recent model years. File 2011 taxes free The guides may be published monthly or seasonally and for different regions of the country. File 2011 taxes free These guides also provide estimates for adjusting for unusual equipment, unusual mileage, and physical condition. File 2011 taxes free The prices are not “official” and these publications are not considered an appraisal of any specific donated property. File 2011 taxes free But they do provide clues for making an appraisal and suggest relative prices for comparison with current sales and offerings in your area. File 2011 taxes free   You can also find used car pricing information on the Internet. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free You donate a used car in poor condition to a local high school for use by students studying car repair. File 2011 taxes free A used car guide shows the dealer retail value for this type of car in poor condition is $1,600. File 2011 taxes free However, the guide shows the price for a private party sale of the car is only $750. File 2011 taxes free The fair market value of the car is considered to be $750. File 2011 taxes free Large quantities. File 2011 taxes free   If you contribute a large number of the same item, fair market value is the price at which comparable numbers of the item are being sold. File 2011 taxes free Giving Property That Has Decreased in Value If you contribute property with a fair market value that is less than your basis in it, your deduction is limited to its fair market value. File 2011 taxes free You cannot claim a deduction for the difference between the property's basis and its fair market value. File 2011 taxes free Giving Property That Has Increased in Value If you contribute property with a fair market value that is more than your basis in it, you may have to reduce the fair market value by the amount of appreciation (increase in value) when you figure your deduction. File 2011 taxes free Your basis in property is generally what you paid for it. File 2011 taxes free See chapter 13 if you need more information about basis. File 2011 taxes free Different rules apply to figuring your deduction, depending on whether the property is: Ordinary income property, or Capital gain property. File 2011 taxes free Ordinary income property. File 2011 taxes free   Property is ordinary income property if you would have recognized ordinary income or short-term capital gain had you sold it at fair market value on the date it was contributed. File 2011 taxes free Examples of ordinary income property are inventory, works of art created by the donor, manuscripts prepared by the donor, and capital assets (defined in chapter 14) held 1 year or less. File 2011 taxes free Amount of deduction. File 2011 taxes free   The amount you can deduct for a contribution of ordinary income property is its fair market value minus the amount that would be ordinary income or short-term capital gain if you sold the property for its fair market value. File 2011 taxes free Generally, this rule limits the deduction to your basis in the property. File 2011 taxes free Example. File 2011 taxes free You donate stock you held for 5 months to your church. File 2011 taxes free The fair market value of the stock on the day you donate it is $1,000, but you paid only $800 (your basis). File 2011 taxes free Because the $200 of appreciation would be short-term capital gain if you sold the stock, your deduction is limited to $800 (fair market value minus the appreciation). File 2011 taxes free Capital gain property. File 2011 taxes free   Property is capital gain property if you would have recognized long-term capital gain had you sold it at fair market value on the date of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free It includes capital assets held more than 1 year, as well as certain real property and depreciable property used in your trade or business and, generally, held more than 1 year. File 2011 taxes free Amount of deduction — general rule. File 2011 taxes free   When figuring your deduction for a contribution of capital gain property, you generally can use the fair market value of the property. File 2011 taxes free Exceptions. File 2011 taxes free   In certain situations, you must reduce the fair market value by any amount that would have been long-term capital gain if you had sold the property for its fair market value. File 2011 taxes free Generally, this means reducing the fair market value to the property's cost or other basis. File 2011 taxes free Bargain sales. File 2011 taxes free   A bargain sale of property is a sale or exchange for less than the property's fair market value. File 2011 taxes free A bargain sale to a qualified organization is partly a charitable contribution and partly a sale or exchange. File 2011 taxes free A bargain sale may result in a taxable gain. File 2011 taxes free More information. File 2011 taxes free   For more information on donating appreciated property, see Giving Property That Has Increased in Value in Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct You can deduct your contributions only in the year you actually make them in cash or other property (or in a later carryover year, as explained later under Carryovers ). File 2011 taxes free This applies whether you use the cash or an accrual method of accounting. File 2011 taxes free Time of making contribution. File 2011 taxes free   Usually, you make a contribution at the time of its unconditional delivery. File 2011 taxes free Checks. File 2011 taxes free   A check you mail to a charity is considered delivered on the date you mail it. File 2011 taxes free Text message. File 2011 taxes free   Contributions made by text message are deductible in the year you send the text message if the contribution is charged to your telephone or wireless account. File 2011 taxes free Credit card. File 2011 taxes free    Contributions charged on your credit card are deductible in the year you make the charge. File 2011 taxes free Pay-by-phone account. File 2011 taxes free    Contributions made through a pay-by-phone account are considered delivered on the date the financial institution pays the amount. File 2011 taxes free Stock certificate. File 2011 taxes free   A properly endorsed stock certificate is considered delivered on the date of mailing or other delivery to the charity or to the charity's agent. File 2011 taxes free However, if you give a stock certificate to your agent or to the issuing corporation for transfer to the name of the charity, your contribution is not delivered until the date the stock is transferred on the books of the corporation. File 2011 taxes free Promissory note. File 2011 taxes free   If you issue and deliver a promissory note to a charity as a contribution, it is not a contribution until you make the note payments. File 2011 taxes free Option. File 2011 taxes free    If you grant a charity an option to buy real property at a bargain price, it is not a contribution until the organization exercises the option. File 2011 taxes free Borrowed funds. File 2011 taxes free   If you contribute borrowed funds, you can deduct the contribution in the year you deliver the funds to the charity, regardless of when you repay the loan. File 2011 taxes free Limits on Deductions The amount you can deduct for charitable contributions cannot be more than 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). File 2011 taxes free Your deduction may be further limited to 30% or 20% of your AGI, depending on the type of property you give and the type of organization you give it to. File 2011 taxes free If your total contributions for the year are 20% or less of your AGI, these limits do not apply to you. File 2011 taxes free The limits are discussed in detail under Limits on Deductions in Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free A higher limit applies to certain qualified conservation contributions. File 2011 taxes free See Publication 526 for details. File 2011 taxes free Carryovers You can carry over any contributions you cannot deduct in the current year because they exceed your adjusted-gross-income limits. File 2011 taxes free You can deduct the excess in each of the next 5 years until it is used up, but not beyond that time. File 2011 taxes free For more information, see Carryovers in Publication 526. File 2011 taxes free Records To Keep You must keep records to prove the amount of the contributions you make during the year. File 2011 taxes free The kind of records you must keep depends on the amount of your contributions and whether they are: Cash contributions, Noncash contributions, or Out-of-pocket expenses when donating your services. File 2011 taxes free Note. File 2011 taxes free An organization generally must give you a written statement if it receives a payment from you that is more than $75 and is partly a contribution and partly for goods or services. File 2011 taxes free (See Contributions From Which You Benefit under Contributions You Can Deduct, earlier. File 2011 taxes free ) Keep the statement for your records. File 2011 taxes free It may satisfy all or part of the recordkeeping requirements explained in the following discussions. File 2011 taxes free Cash Contributions Cash contributions include those paid by cash, check, electronic funds transfer, debit card, credit card, or payroll deduction. File 2011 taxes free You cannot deduct a cash contribution, regardless of the amount, unless you keep one of the following. File 2011 taxes free A bank record that shows the name of the qualified organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free Bank records may include: A canceled check, A bank or credit union statement, or A credit card statement. File 2011 taxes free A receipt (or a letter or other written communication) from the qualified organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free The payroll deduction records described next. File 2011 taxes free Payroll deductions. File 2011 taxes free   If you make a contribution by payroll deduction, you must keep: A pay stub, Form W-2, or other document furnished by your employer that shows the date and amount of the contribution, and A pledge card or other document prepared by or for the qualified organization that shows the name of the organization. File 2011 taxes free If your employer withheld $250 or more from a single paycheck, see Contributions of $250 or More , next. File 2011 taxes free Contributions of $250 or More You can claim a deduction for a contribution of $250 or more only if you have an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization or certain payroll deduction records. File 2011 taxes free If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that lists each contribution and the date of each contribution and shows your total contributions. File 2011 taxes free Amount of contribution. File 2011 taxes free   In figuring whether your contribution is $250 or more, do not combine separate contributions. File 2011 taxes free For example, if you gave your church $25 each week, your weekly payments do not have to be combined. File 2011 taxes free Each payment is a separate contribution. File 2011 taxes free   If contributions are made by payroll deduction, the deduction from each paycheck is treated as a separate contribution. File 2011 taxes free   If you made a payment that is partly for goods and services, as described earlier under Contributions From Which You Benefit , your contribution is the amount of the payment that is more than the value of the goods and services. File 2011 taxes free Acknowledgment. File 2011 taxes free   The acknowledgment must meet these tests. File 2011 taxes free It must be written. File 2011 taxes free It must include: The amount of cash you contributed, Whether the qualified organization gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain token items and membership benefits), A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services described in (b) (other than intangible religious benefits), and A statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case. File 2011 taxes free The acknowledgment does not need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit. File 2011 taxes free An intangible religious benefit is a benefit that generally is not sold in commercial transactions outside a donative (gift) context. File 2011 taxes free An example is admission to a religious ceremony. File 2011 taxes free You must get it on or before the earlier of: The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or The due date, including extensions, for filing the return. File 2011 taxes free   If the acknowledgment does not show the date of the contribution, you must also have a bank record or receipt, as described earlier, that does show the date of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free If the acknowledgment shows the date of the contribution and meets the other tests just described, you do not need any other records. File 2011 taxes free Payroll deductions. File 2011 taxes free   If you make a contribution by payroll deduction and your employer withholds $250 or more from a single paycheck, you must keep: A pay stub, Form W-2, or other document furnished by your employer that shows the amount withheld as a contribution, and A pledge card or other document prepared by or for the qualified organization that shows the name of the organization and states the organization does not provide goods or services in return for any contribution made to it by payroll deduction. File 2011 taxes free A single pledge card may be kept for all contributions made by payroll deduction regardless of amount as long as it contains all the required information. File 2011 taxes free   If the pay stub, Form W-2, pledge card, or other document does not show the date of the contribution, you must have another document that does show the date of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free If the pay stub, Form W-2, pledge card, or other document shows the date of the contribution, you do not need any other records except those just described in (1) and (2). File 2011 taxes free Noncash Contributions For a contribution not made in cash, the records you must keep depend on whether your deduction for the contribution is: Less than $250, At least $250 but not more than $500, Over $500 but not more than $5,000, or Over $5,000. File 2011 taxes free Amount of deduction. File 2011 taxes free   In figuring whether your deduction is $500 or more, combine your claimed deductions for all similar items of property donated to any charitable organization during the year. File 2011 taxes free   If you received goods or services in return, as described earlier in Contributions From Which You Benefit , reduce your contribution by the value of those goods or services. File 2011 taxes free If you figure your deduction by reducing the fair market value of the donated property by its appreciation, as described earlier in Giving Property That Has Increased in Value , your contribution is the reduced amount. File 2011 taxes free Deductions of Less Than $250 If you make any noncash contribution, you must get and keep a receipt from the charitable organization showing: The name of the charitable organization, The date and location of the charitable contribution, and A reasonably detailed description of the property. File 2011 taxes free A letter or other written communication from the charitable organization acknowledging receipt of the contribution and containing the information in (1), (2), and (3) will serve as a receipt. File 2011 taxes free You are not required to have a receipt where it is impractical to get one (for example, if you leave property at a charity's unattended drop site). File 2011 taxes free Additional records. File 2011 taxes free   You must also keep reliable written records for each item of contributed property. File 2011 taxes free Your written records must include the following information. File 2011 taxes free The name and address of the organization to which you contributed. File 2011 taxes free The date and location of the contribution. File 2011 taxes free A description of the property in detail reasonable under the circumstances. File 2011 taxes free For a security, keep the name of the issuer, the type of security, and whether it is regularly traded on a stock exchange or in an over-the-counter market. File 2011 taxes free The fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution and how you figured the fair market value. File 2011 taxes free If it was determined by appraisal, keep a signed copy of the appraisal. File 2011 taxes free The cost or other basis of the property, if you must reduce its fair market value by appreciation. File 2011 taxes free Your records should also include the amount of the reduction and how you figured it. File 2011 taxes free The amount you claim as a deduction for the tax year as a result of the contribution, if you contribute less than your entire interest in the property during the tax year. File 2011 taxes free Your records must include the amount you claimed as a deduction in any earlier years for contributions of other interests in this property. File 2011 taxes free They must also include the name and address of each organization to which you contributed the other interests, the place where any such tangible property is located or kept, and the name of any person in possession of the property, other than the organization to which you contributed it. File 2011 taxes free The terms of any conditions attached to the contribution of property. File 2011 taxes free Deductions of At Least $250 But Not More Than $500 If you claim a deduction of at least $250 but not more than $500 for a noncash charitable contribution, you must get and keep an acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization. File 2011 taxes free If you made more than one contribution of $250 or more, you must have either a separate acknowledgment for each or one acknowledgment that shows your total contributions. File 2011 taxes free The acknowledgment must contain the information in items (1) through (3) under Deductions of Less Than $250 , earlier, and your written records must include the information listed in that discussion under Additional records . File 2011 taxes free The acknowledgment must also meet these tests. File 2011 taxes free It must be written. File 2011 taxes free It must include: A description (but not necessarily the value) of any property you contributed, Whether the qualified organization gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain token items and membership benefits), and A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services described in (b). File 2011 taxes free If the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit (such as admission to a religious ceremony) that generally is not sold in a commercial transaction outside the donative context, the acknowledgment must say so and does not need to describe or estimate the value of the benefit. File 2011 taxes free You must get it on or before the earlier of: The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or The due date, including extensions, for filing the return. File 2011 taxes free Deductions Over $500 You are required to give additional information if you claim a deduction over $500 for noncash charitable contributions. File 2011 taxes free See Records To Keep in Publication 526 for more information. File 2011 taxes free Out-of-Pocket Expenses If you give services to a qualified organization and have unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses related to those services, the following two rules apply. File 2011 taxes free You must have adequate records to prove the amount of the expenses. File 2011 taxes free If any of your unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses, considered separately, are $250 or more (for example, you pay $250 or more for an airline ticket to attend a convention of a qualified organization as a chosen representative), you must get an acknowledgment from the qualified organization that contains: A description of the services you provided, A statement of whether or not the organization provided you any goods or services to reimburse you for the expenses you incurred, A description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services (other than intangible religious benefits) provided to reimburse you, and A statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case. File 2011 taxes free The acknowledgment does not need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit (defined earlier under Acknowledgment ). File 2011 taxes free You must get the acknowledgment on or before the earlier of: The date you file your return for the year you make the contribution, or The due date, including extensions, for filing the return. File 2011 taxes free Car expenses. File 2011 taxes free   If you claim expenses directly related to use of your car in giving services to a qualified organization, you must keep reliable written records of your expenses. File 2011 taxes free Whether your records are considered reliable depends on all the facts and circumstances. File 2011 taxes free Generally, they may be considered reliable if you made them regularly and at or near the time you had the expenses. File 2011 taxes free   For example, your records might show the name of the organization you were serving and the dates you used your car for a charitable purpose. File 2011 taxes free If you use the standard mileage rate of 14 cents a mile, your records must show the miles you drove your car for the charitable purpose. File 2011 taxes free If you deduct your actual expenses, your records must show the costs of operating the car that are directly related to a charitable purpose. File 2011 taxes free   See Car expenses under Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Giving Services, earlier, for the expenses you can deduct. File 2011 taxes free How To Report Report your charitable contributions on Schedule A (Form 1040). File 2011 taxes free If your total deduction for all noncash contributions for the year is over $500, you must also file Form 8283. File 2011 taxes free See How To Report in Publication 526 for more information. File 2011 taxes free Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
Print - Click this link to Print this page

Should I itemize?

You should itemize deductions if your total deductions are more than the standard deduction amount. Also, if your standard deduction is zero, you should itemize any deductions you have if:

  • You are married and filing a separate return, and your spouse itemizes deductions,
  • You are filing a tax return for a short tax year because of a change in your annual accounting period, or
  • You are a nonresident or dual-status alien during the year. You are considered a dual-status alien if you were both a nonresident and resident alien during the year.

NOTE: If you are a nonresident alien who is married to a U.S. citizen or resident at the end of the year, you can choose to be treated as a U.S. resident. (See Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.) If you make this choice, you can take the standard deduction.

When to itemize

You may benefit from itemizing your deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040) if you:

  • Do not qualify for the standard deduction, or the amount you can claim is limited,
  • Had large uninsured medical and dental expenses during the year,
  • Paid interest and taxes on your home,
  • Had large unreimbursed employee business expenses or other miscellaneous deductions,
  • Had large uninsured casualty or theft losses,
  • Made large contributions to qualified charities, or
  • Have total itemized deductions that are more than the standard deduction to which you otherwise are entitled.

Helpful Publications

Tax Tips

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 12-Nov-2013

The File 2011 Taxes Free

File 2011 taxes free Index A Abatement of interest and penalties, Abatement of interest and penalties. File 2011 taxes free Accidents, Deductible losses. File 2011 taxes free , Nondeductible losses. File 2011 taxes free Adjusted basis, Adjusted Basis Adjustments to basis, Basis adjustment to corporation's property. File 2011 taxes free , Adjustments to Basis Amended returns, Amended return. File 2011 taxes free Appraisals, Appraisal. File 2011 taxes free , Costs of photographs and appraisals. File 2011 taxes free Assistance (see Tax help) B Bad debts, Nonbusiness bad debt. File 2011 taxes free Basis Adjusted, Adjusted Basis Adjustments to, Basis adjustment to corporation's property. File 2011 taxes free , Adjustments to Basis Replacement property, Basis of replacement property. File 2011 taxes free Business or income-producing property, Business or income-producing property. File 2011 taxes free Business purposes, property used partly for, Property used partly for business and partly for personal purposes. File 2011 taxes free C Cars Accidents, Deductible losses. File 2011 taxes free Fair market value of, Car value. File 2011 taxes free Cash gifts, Cash gifts. File 2011 taxes free Casualty losses, Table 3. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct a Casualty or Theft Loss Deductible losses, Deductible losses. File 2011 taxes free Definition, Casualty Deposits, loss on, Casualty loss or ordinary loss. File 2011 taxes free Nondeductible losses, Nondeductible losses. File 2011 taxes free Progressive deterioration, Progressive deterioration. File 2011 taxes free Proof of, Casualty loss proof. File 2011 taxes free When to report, Losses. File 2011 taxes free Workbooks for listing property, Workbooks for casualties and thefts. File 2011 taxes free Clean up costs, Cost of cleaning up or making repairs. File 2011 taxes free Condemnation, Condemnations. File 2011 taxes free Corrosive drywall, Special Procedure for Damage From Corrosive Drywall Costs Appraisals, Costs of photographs and appraisals. File 2011 taxes free Clean up, Cost of cleaning up or making repairs. File 2011 taxes free Incidental expenses, Related expenses. File 2011 taxes free Landscaping, Landscaping. File 2011 taxes free Photographs taken after loss, Costs of photographs and appraisals. File 2011 taxes free Protection, Cost of protection. File 2011 taxes free Repair, Cost of cleaning up or making repairs. File 2011 taxes free Replacement, Replacement cost. File 2011 taxes free D Death of taxpayer Postponement of gain, Death of a taxpayer. File 2011 taxes free Deductible losses, Deductible losses. File 2011 taxes free Deduction limits, Deduction Limits $100 rule, $100 Rule 10% rule, 10% Rule 2% rule, 2% Rule Deposit losses, Mislaid or lost property. File 2011 taxes free , Table 3. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct a Casualty or Theft Loss Reporting of (Table 1), Table 1. File 2011 taxes free Reporting Loss on Deposits When to report, Loss on deposits. File 2011 taxes free Disaster area losses, Lessee's loss. File 2011 taxes free Claiming on amended return, Claiming a disaster loss on an amended return. File 2011 taxes free Federal loan canceled, Federal loan canceled. File 2011 taxes free Federally declared disaster, Business or income-producing property located in a federally declared disaster area. File 2011 taxes free , Disaster Area Losses Figuring loss deduction, Figuring the loss deduction. File 2011 taxes free Form 1040X, How to report the loss on Form 1040X. File 2011 taxes free Home made unsafe, Home made unsafe by disaster. File 2011 taxes free How to deduct loss in preceding year, How to deduct your loss in the preceding year. File 2011 taxes free Inventory, Disaster loss to inventory. File 2011 taxes free Main home rules, Main home in disaster area. File 2011 taxes free , Gains. File 2011 taxes free Qualified disaster mitigation payments, Qualified disaster mitigation payments. File 2011 taxes free Qualified disaster relief payments, Qualified disaster relief payments. File 2011 taxes free Records to keep, Records. File 2011 taxes free Tax deadlines postponed, Covered disaster area. File 2011 taxes free When to deduct, When to deduct the loss. File 2011 taxes free Table 3, Table 3. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct a Casualty or Theft Loss Disaster mitigation payments, Qualified disaster mitigation payments. File 2011 taxes free Disaster relief grants, Disaster relief. File 2011 taxes free Drywall, corrosive, Special Procedure for Damage From Corrosive Drywall Due dates Tax deadlines postponed, Postponed Tax Deadlines E Employer's emergency disaster fund, Employer's emergency disaster fund. File 2011 taxes free F Fair market value (FMV) Decline in value of property in or near casualty area, Decline in market value of property in or near casualty area. File 2011 taxes free Measuring decrease in, Decrease in Fair Market Value Items not to consider, Figuring Decrease in FMV — Items Not To Consider Items to consider, Figuring Decrease in FMV — Items To Consider Federal disaster relief grants, Federal disaster relief grants. File 2011 taxes free Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), contacting, Contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Federally declared disasters, Business or income-producing property located in a federally declared disaster area. File 2011 taxes free , Disaster Area Losses Figuring gain, Property used partly for business and partly for personal purposes. File 2011 taxes free Figuring loss, Theft loss proof. File 2011 taxes free , Figuring the Deduction Adjusted basis, Adjusted Basis Disaster area losses, Figuring the loss deduction. File 2011 taxes free Insurance and other reimbursements, Insurance and Other Reimbursements Form 1040, Schedule A, Personal-use property. File 2011 taxes free Form 1040, Schedule D, Personal-use property. File 2011 taxes free Form 1040X Disaster area losses, How to report the loss on Form 1040X. File 2011 taxes free Form 4684 Reporting gains and losses on personal-use property, Personal-use property. File 2011 taxes free Free tax services, Free help with your tax return. File 2011 taxes free G Gains Figuring, Figuring a Gain Postponement of, Postponement of Gain, How To Postpone a Gain Reimbursements, Gain from reimbursement. File 2011 taxes free Reporting of, Contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) When to report, Changing your mind. File 2011 taxes free H Help (see Tax help) I Incidental expenses, Related expenses. File 2011 taxes free Insurance, Insurance and Other Reimbursements Living expenses, payments for, Insurance payments for living expenses. File 2011 taxes free Interest abatement, Abatement of interest and penalties. File 2011 taxes free Inventory losses, Loss of inventory. File 2011 taxes free Disaster area losses, Disaster loss to inventory. File 2011 taxes free L Landscaping, Landscaping. File 2011 taxes free Leased property, Leased property. File 2011 taxes free When to report, Lessee's loss. File 2011 taxes free Losses Casualty (see Casualty losses) Deposits (see Deposit losses) Disaster areas (see Disaster area losses) Figuring amount (see Figuring loss) Proof of, Deducted loss recovered. File 2011 taxes free Records of, Theft loss proof. File 2011 taxes free Reporting of, Contacting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Theft (see Theft losses) When to report, Changing your mind. File 2011 taxes free (Table 3), Table 3. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct a Casualty or Theft Loss M Married taxpayers Deduction limits, Married taxpayers. File 2011 taxes free , Married taxpayers. File 2011 taxes free Mislaid or lost property, Mislaid or lost property. File 2011 taxes free Missing children, photographs of, Reminders N Nonbusiness bad debts, Nonbusiness bad debt. File 2011 taxes free Nondeductible losses, Nondeductible losses. File 2011 taxes free P Payments for living expenses, Insurance payments for living expenses. File 2011 taxes free Penalty abatement, Abatement of interest and penalties. File 2011 taxes free Personal property Loss deduction, figuring of, Personal property. File 2011 taxes free Personal-use property Reporting gains and losses, Personal-use property. File 2011 taxes free Personal-use real property, Exception for personal-use real property. File 2011 taxes free Photographs Documentation of loss, Costs of photographs and appraisals. File 2011 taxes free Ponzi-type investment schemes, Losses from Ponzi-type investment schemes. File 2011 taxes free Postponed tax deadlines, Postponed Tax Deadlines Postponement of gain, Postponement of Gain, How To Postpone a Gain Amended return, Amended return. File 2011 taxes free Changing mind, Changing your mind. File 2011 taxes free Replacement property acquired after return filed, Replacement property acquired after return filed. File 2011 taxes free Replacement property acquired before return filed, Replacement property acquired before return filed. File 2011 taxes free Required statement, Required statement. File 2011 taxes free Substituting replacement property, Substituting replacement property. File 2011 taxes free Three-year limit, Three-year limit. File 2011 taxes free Proof of loss, Proof of Loss Protection costs, Cost of protection. File 2011 taxes free Publications (see Tax help) R Records of loss, Theft loss proof. File 2011 taxes free Recovered stolen property, Recovered stolen property. File 2011 taxes free Reimbursements Cash gifts, Cash gifts. File 2011 taxes free Disaster relief, Disaster relief. File 2011 taxes free Employer's emergency disaster fund, Employer's emergency disaster fund. File 2011 taxes free Failure to file a claim, Failure to file a claim for reimbursement. File 2011 taxes free Received after deducting loss, Reimbursement Received After Deducting Loss Types of, Types of Reimbursements Related expenses, Related expenses. File 2011 taxes free Related person, replacement property bought from, Buying replacement property from a related person. File 2011 taxes free Repair costs, Cost of cleaning up or making repairs. File 2011 taxes free Replacement cost, Replacement cost. File 2011 taxes free Replacement period, Replacement Period Extension of, Extension. File 2011 taxes free Replacement property, Replacement Property Advance payment, Advance payment. File 2011 taxes free Basis adjustment to corporation's property, Basis adjustment to corporation's property. File 2011 taxes free Basis of, Basis of replacement property. File 2011 taxes free Main home, Main home replaced. File 2011 taxes free In disaster area, Main home in disaster area. File 2011 taxes free Postponement of gain, Replacement property acquired before return filed. File 2011 taxes free Reporting gains and losses, Reporting a gain. File 2011 taxes free , How To Report Gains and Losses Basis, adjustments to, Adjustments to Basis Business and income-producing property, Business and income-producing property. File 2011 taxes free Deductions exceeding income, If Deductions Are More Than Income Deposits, How to report. File 2011 taxes free Table 1, Table 1. File 2011 taxes free Reporting Loss on Deposits Disaster area losses, How to report the loss on Form 1040X. File 2011 taxes free Personal-use property, Personal-use property. File 2011 taxes free Timing of, When To Report Gains and Losses S Sentimental value, Sentimental value. File 2011 taxes free State disaster relief grants for businesses, State disaster relief grants for businesses. File 2011 taxes free Stolen property (see Theft losses) T Tables and figures Reporting loss on deposits (Table 1), Table 1. File 2011 taxes free Reporting Loss on Deposits When to deduct losses (Table 3), Table 3. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct a Casualty or Theft Loss Tax help, How To Get Tax Help Theft losses, Theft FMV of stolen property, FMV of stolen property. File 2011 taxes free Mislaid or lost property, Mislaid or lost property. File 2011 taxes free Proof of, Theft loss proof. File 2011 taxes free When to deduct (Table 3), Table 3. File 2011 taxes free When To Deduct a Casualty or Theft Loss When to report, Losses. File 2011 taxes free Workbooks for listing property, Workbooks for casualties and thefts. File 2011 taxes free Timber loss, Timber loss. File 2011 taxes free W Workbooks for property lost due to casualties and thefts, Workbooks for casualties and thefts. File 2011 taxes free Prev  Up     Home   More Online Publications