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File free state taxes only Publication 526 - Introductory Material Table of Contents Future Developments What's New Reminders IntroductionOrdering forms and publications. File free state taxes only Tax questions. File free state taxes only Useful Items - You may want to see: Future Developments For the latest information about developments related to Publication 526 (such as legislation enacted after we release it), go to www. File free state taxes only irs. File free state taxes only gov/pub526. File free state taxes only What's New Limit on itemized deductions. File free state taxes only  For 2013, you may have to reduce the total amount of certain itemized deductions, including charitable contributions, if your adjusted gross income is more than: $150,000 if married filing separately, $250,000 if single, $275,000 if head of household, or $300,000 if married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er). File free state taxes only For more information and a worksheet, see the instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040). File free state taxes only Reminders Disaster relief. File free state taxes only  You can deduct contributions for flood relief, hurricane relief, or other disaster relief to a qualified organization (defined under Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions ). File free state taxes only However, you cannot deduct contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family. File free state taxes only Publication 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations, has more information about disaster relief, including how to establish a new charitable organization. File free state taxes only You can also find more information on IRS. File free state taxes only gov. File free state taxes only Enter “disaster relief” in the search box. File free state taxes only Photographs of missing children. File free state taxes only  The IRS is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. File free state taxes only Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. File free state taxes only You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child. File free state taxes only Introduction This publication explains how to claim a deduction for your charitable contributions. File free state taxes only It discusses the types of organizations to which you can make deductible charitable contributions and the types of contributions you can deduct. File free state taxes only It also discusses how much you can deduct, what records you must keep, and how to report charitable contributions. File free state taxes only A charitable contribution is a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. File free state taxes only It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value. File free state taxes only Qualified organizations. File free state taxes only   Qualified organizations include nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. File free state taxes only You will find descriptions of these organizations under Organizations That Qualify To Receive Deductible Contributions . File free state taxes only Form 1040 required. File free state taxes only   To deduct a charitable contribution, you must file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). File free state taxes only The amount of your deduction may be limited if certain rules and limits explained in this publication apply to you. File free state taxes only Comments and suggestions. File free state taxes only   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions. File free state taxes only   You can write to us at the following address: Internal Revenue Service Tax Forms and Publications Division 1111 Constitution Ave. File free state taxes only NW, IR-6526 Washington, DC 20224   We respond to many letters by telephone. File free state taxes only Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence. File free state taxes only   You can send your comments from www. File free state taxes only irs. File free state taxes only gov/formspubs/. File free state taxes only Click on “More Information” and then on “Comment on Tax Forms and Publications. File free state taxes only ”   Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products. File free state taxes only Ordering forms and publications. File free state taxes only   Visit www. File free state taxes only irs. File free state taxes only gov/formspubs/ to download forms and publications, call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received. File free state taxes only Internal Revenue Service 1201 N. File free state taxes only Mitsubishi Motorway Bloomington, IL 61705-6613 Tax questions. File free state taxes only   If you have a tax question, check the information available on IRS. File free state taxes only gov or call 1-800-829-1040. File free state taxes only We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses. File free state taxes only Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 561 Determining the Value of Donated Property Form (and Instructions) Schedule A (Form 1040) Itemized Deductions 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions  See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting these publications and forms. File free state taxes only Table 1. File free state taxes only Examples of Charitable Contributions—A Quick Check Use the following lists for a quick check of whether you can deduct a contribution. File free state taxes only See the rest of this publication for more information and additional rules and limits that may apply. File free state taxes only Deductible As Charitable Contributions Not Deductible As Charitable Contributions Money or property you give to: 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 free state taxes only   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 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   Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications
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File free state taxes only 2. File free state taxes only   Employees' Pay Table of Contents Introduction Topics - This chapter discusses: Useful Items - You may want to see: Tests for Deducting PayTest 1—Reasonableness Test 2—For Services Performed Kinds of PayAwards Bonuses Education Expenses Fringe Benefits Loans or Advances Property Reimbursements for Business Expenses Sick and Vacation Pay Introduction You can generally deduct the amount you pay your employees for the services they perform. File free state taxes only The pay may be in cash, property, or services. File free state taxes only It may include wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, or other non-cash compensation such as vacation allowances and fringe benefits. File free state taxes only For information about deducting employment taxes, see chapter 5. File free state taxes only You can claim employment credits, such as the following, if you hire individuals who meet certain requirements. File free state taxes only Empowerment zone employment credit (Form 8844). File free state taxes only Indian employment credit (Form 8845). File free state taxes only Work opportunity credit (Form 5884). File free state taxes only Credit for employer differential wage payments (Form 8932). File free state taxes only Reduce your deduction for employee wages by the amount of employment credits you claim. File free state taxes only For more information about these credits, see the form on which the credit is claimed. File free state taxes only Topics - This chapter discusses: Tests for deducting pay Kinds of pay Useful Items - You may want to see: Publication 15 (Circular E), Employer's Tax Guide 15-A Employer's Supplemental Tax Guide 15-B Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits See chapter 12 for information about getting publications and forms. File free state taxes only Tests for Deducting Pay To be deductible, your employees' pay must be an ordinary and necessary business expense and you must pay or incur it. File free state taxes only These and other requirements that apply to all business expenses are explained in chapter 1. File free state taxes only In addition, the pay must meet both of the following tests. File free state taxes only Test 1. File free state taxes only It must be reasonable. File free state taxes only Test 2. File free state taxes only It must be for services performed. File free state taxes only The form or method of figuring the pay does not affect its deductibility. File free state taxes only For example, bonuses and commissions based on sales or earnings, and paid under an agreement made before the services were performed, are both deductible. File free state taxes only Test 1—Reasonableness You must be able to prove that the pay is reasonable. File free state taxes only Whether the pay is reasonable depends on the circumstances that existed when you contracted for the services, not those that exist when reasonableness is questioned. File free state taxes only If the pay is excessive, the excess pay is disallowed as a deduction. File free state taxes only Factors to consider. File free state taxes only   Determine the reasonableness of pay by the facts and circumstances. File free state taxes only Generally, reasonable pay is the amount that a similar business would pay for the same or similar services. File free state taxes only   To determine if pay is reasonable, also consider the following items and any other pertinent facts. File free state taxes only The duties performed by the employee. File free state taxes only The volume of business handled. File free state taxes only The character and amount of responsibility. File free state taxes only The complexities of your business. File free state taxes only The amount of time required. File free state taxes only The cost of living in the locality. File free state taxes only The ability and achievements of the individual employee performing the service. File free state taxes only The pay compared with the gross and net income of the business, as well as with distributions to shareholders if the business is a corporation. File free state taxes only Your policy regarding pay for all your employees. File free state taxes only The history of pay for each employee. File free state taxes only Test 2—For Services Performed You must be able to prove the payment was made for services actually performed. File free state taxes only Employee-shareholder salaries. File free state taxes only   If a corporation pays an employee who is also a shareholder a salary that is unreasonably high considering the services actually performed, the excessive part of the salary may be treated as a constructive dividend to the employee-shareholder. File free state taxes only The excessive part of the salary would not be allowed as a salary deduction by the corporation. File free state taxes only For more information on corporate distributions to shareholders, see Publication 542, Corporations. File free state taxes only Kinds of Pay Some of the ways you may provide pay to your employees in addition to regular wages or salaries are discussed next. File free state taxes only For specialized and detailed information on employees' pay and the employment tax treatment of employees' pay, see Publications 15, 15-A, and 15-B. File free state taxes only Awards You can generally deduct amounts you pay to your employees as awards, whether paid in cash or property. File free state taxes only If you give property to an employee as an employee achievement award, your deduction may be limited. File free state taxes only Achievement awards. File free state taxes only   An achievement award is an item of tangible personal property that meets all the following requirements. File free state taxes only It is given to an employee for length of service or safety achievement. File free state taxes only It is awarded as part of a meaningful presentation. File free state taxes only It is awarded under conditions and circumstances that do not create a significant likelihood of disguised pay. File free state taxes only Length-of-service award. File free state taxes only    An award will qualify as a length-of-service award only if either of the following applies. File free state taxes only The employee receives the award after his or her first 5 years of employment. File free state taxes only The employee did not receive another length-of-service award (other than one of very small value) during the same year or in any of the prior 4 years. File free state taxes only Safety achievement award. File free state taxes only    An award for safety achievement will qualify as an achievement award unless one of the following applies. File free state taxes only It is given to a manager, administrator, clerical employee, or other professional employee. File free state taxes only During the tax year, more than 10% of your employees, excluding those listed in (1), have already received a safety achievement award (other than one of very small value). File free state taxes only Deduction limit. File free state taxes only   Your deduction for the cost of employee achievement awards given to any one employee during the tax year is limited to the following. File free state taxes only $400 for awards that are not qualified plan awards. File free state taxes only $1,600 for all awards, whether or not qualified plan awards. File free state taxes only   A qualified plan award is an achievement award given as part of an established written plan or program that does not favor highly compensated employees as to eligibility or benefits. File free state taxes only   A highly compensated employee is an employee who meets either of the following tests. File free state taxes only The employee was a 5% owner at any time during the year or the preceding year. File free state taxes only The employee received more than $115,000 in pay for the preceding year. File free state taxes only You can choose to ignore test (2) if the employee was not also in the top 20% of employees ranked by pay for the preceding year. File free state taxes only   An award is not a qualified plan award if the average cost of all the employee achievement awards given during the tax year (that would be qualified plan awards except for this limit) is more than $400. File free state taxes only To figure this average cost, ignore awards of nominal value. File free state taxes only Deduct achievement awards as a nonwage business expense on your return or business schedule. File free state taxes only You may not owe employment taxes on the value of some achievement awards you provide to an employee. File free state taxes only See Publication 15-B. File free state taxes only Bonuses You can generally deduct a bonus paid to an employee if you intended the bonus as additional pay for services, not as a gift, and the services were performed. File free state taxes only However, the total bonuses, salaries, and other pay must be reasonable for the services performed. File free state taxes only If the bonus is paid in property, see Property , later. File free state taxes only Gifts of nominal value. File free state taxes only    If, to promote employee goodwill, you distribute food or merchandise of nominal value to your employees at holidays, you can deduct the cost of these items as a nonwage business expense. File free state taxes only Your deduction for de minimis gifts of food or drink are not subject to the 50% deduction limit that generally applies to meals. File free state taxes only For more information on this deduction limit, see Meals and lodging , later. File free state taxes only Education Expenses If you pay or reimburse education expenses for an employee, you can deduct the payments if they are part of a qualified educational assistance program. File free state taxes only Deduct them on the “Employee benefit programs” or other appropriate line of your tax return. File free state taxes only For information on educational assistance programs, see Educational Assistance in section 2 of Publication 15-B. File free state taxes only Fringe Benefits A fringe benefit is a form of pay for the performance of services. File free state taxes only You can generally deduct the cost of fringe benefits. File free state taxes only You may be able to exclude all or part of the value of some fringe benefits from your employees' pay. File free state taxes only You also may not owe employment taxes on the value of the fringe benefits. File free state taxes only See Table 2-1, Special Rules for Various Types of Fringe Benefits, in Publication 15-B for details. File free state taxes only Your deduction for the cost of fringe benefits for activities generally considered entertainment, amusement, or recreation, or for a facility used in connection with such an activity (for example, a company aircraft) for certain officers, directors, and more-than-10% shareholders is limited. File free state taxes only Certain fringe benefits are discussed next. File free state taxes only See Publication 15-B for more details on these and other fringe benefits. File free state taxes only Meals and lodging. File free state taxes only   You can usually deduct the cost of furnishing meals and lodging to your employees. File free state taxes only Deduct the cost in whatever category the expense falls. File free state taxes only For example, if you operate a restaurant, deduct the cost of the meals you furnish to employees as part of the cost of goods sold. File free state taxes only If you operate a nursing home, motel, or rental property, deduct the cost of furnishing lodging to an employee as expenses for utilities, linen service, salaries, depreciation, etc. File free state taxes only Deduction limit on meals. File free state taxes only   You can generally deduct only 50% of the cost of furnishing meals to your employees. File free state taxes only However, you can deduct the full cost of the following meals. File free state taxes only Meals whose value you include in an employee's wages. File free state taxes only Meals that qualify as a de minimis fringe benefit as discussed in section 2 of Publication 15-B. File free state taxes only This generally includes meals you furnish to employees at your place of business if more than half of these employees are provided the meals for your convenience. File free state taxes only Meals you furnish to your employees at the work site when you operate a restaurant or catering service. File free state taxes only Meals you furnish to your employees as part of the expense of providing recreational or social activities, such as a company picnic. File free state taxes only Meals you are required by federal law to furnish to crew members of certain commercial vessels (or would be required to furnish if the vessels were operated at sea). File free state taxes only This does not include meals you furnish on vessels primarily providing luxury water transportation. File free state taxes only Meals you furnish on an oil or gas platform or drilling rig located offshore or in Alaska. File free state taxes only This includes meals you furnish at a support camp that is near and integral to an oil or gas drilling rig located in Alaska. File free state taxes only Employee benefit programs. File free state taxes only   Employee benefit programs include the following. File free state taxes only Accident and health plans. File free state taxes only Adoption assistance. File free state taxes only Cafeteria plans. File free state taxes only Dependent care assistance. File free state taxes only Education assistance. File free state taxes only Life insurance coverage. File free state taxes only Welfare benefit funds. File free state taxes only   You can generally deduct amounts you spend on employee benefit programs on the applicable line of your tax return. File free state taxes only For example, if you provide dependent care by operating a dependent care facility for your employees, deduct your costs in whatever categories they fall (utilities, salaries, etc. File free state taxes only ). File free state taxes only Life insurance coverage. File free state taxes only   You cannot deduct the cost of life insurance coverage for you, an employee, or any person with a financial interest in your business, if you are directly or indirectly the beneficiary of the policy. File free state taxes only See Regulations section 1. File free state taxes only 264-1 for more information. File free state taxes only Welfare benefit funds. File free state taxes only   A welfare benefit fund is a funded plan (or a funded arrangement having the effect of a plan) that provides welfare benefits to your employees, independent contractors, or their beneficiaries. File free state taxes only Welfare benefits are any benefits other than deferred compensation or transfers of restricted property. File free state taxes only   Your deduction for contributions to a welfare benefit fund is limited to the fund's qualified cost for the tax year. File free state taxes only If your contributions to the fund are more than its qualified cost, carry the excess over to the next tax year. File free state taxes only   Generally, the fund's “qualified cost” is the total of the following amounts, reduced by the after-tax income of the fund. File free state taxes only The cost you would have been able to deduct using the cash method of accounting if you had paid for the benefits directly. File free state taxes only The contributions added to a reserve account that are needed to fund claims incurred but not paid as of the end of the year. File free state taxes only These claims can be for supplemental unemployment benefits, severance pay, or disability, medical, or life insurance benefits. File free state taxes only   For more information, see sections 419(c) and 419A of the Internal Revenue Code and the related regulations. File free state taxes only Loans or Advances You generally can deduct as wages an advance you make to an employee for services performed if you do not expect the employee to repay the advance. File free state taxes only However, if the employee performs no services, treat the amount you advanced as a loan. File free state taxes only If the employee does not repay the loan, treat it as income to the employee. File free state taxes only Below-market interest rate loans. File free state taxes only   On certain loans you make to an employee or shareholder, you are treated as having received interest income and as having paid compensation or dividends equal to that interest. File free state taxes only See Below-Market Loans in chapter 4. File free state taxes only Property If you transfer property (including your company's stock) to an employee as payment for services, you can generally deduct it as wages. File free state taxes only The amount you can deduct is the property's fair market value on the date of the transfer less any amount the employee paid for the property. File free state taxes only You can claim the deduction only for the tax year in which your employee includes the property's value in income. File free state taxes only Your employee is deemed to have included the value in income if you report it on Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, in a timely manner. File free state taxes only You treat the deductible amount as received in exchange for the property, and you must recognize any gain or loss realized on the transfer, unless it is the company's stock transferred as payment for services. File free state taxes only Your gain or loss is the difference between the fair market value of the property and its adjusted basis on the date of transfer. File free state taxes only These rules also apply to property transferred to an independent contractor for services, generally reported on Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income. File free state taxes only Restricted property. File free state taxes only   If the property you transfer for services is subject to restrictions that affect its value, you generally cannot deduct it and do not report gain or loss until it is substantially vested in the recipient. File free state taxes only However, if the recipient pays for the property, you must report any gain at the time of the transfer up to the amount paid. File free state taxes only    “Substantially vested” means the property is not subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture. File free state taxes only This means that the recipient is not likely to have to give up his or her rights in the property in the future. File free state taxes only Reimbursements for Business Expenses You can generally deduct the amount you pay or reimburse employees for business expenses incurred for your business. File free state taxes only However, your deduction may be limited. File free state taxes only If you make the payment under an accountable plan, deduct it in the category of the expense paid. File free state taxes only For example, if you pay an employee for travel expenses incurred on your behalf, deduct this payment as a travel expense. File free state taxes only If you make the payment under a nonaccountable plan, deduct it as wages and include it in the employee's Form W-2. File free state taxes only See Reimbursement of Travel, Meals, and Entertainment in chapter 11 for more information about deducting reimbursements and an explanation of accountable and nonaccountable plans. File free state taxes only Sick and Vacation Pay Sick pay. File free state taxes only   You can deduct amounts you pay to your employees for sickness and injury, including lump-sum amounts, as wages. File free state taxes only However, your deduction is limited to amounts not compensated by insurance or other means. File free state taxes only Vacation pay. File free state taxes only   Vacation pay is an employee benefit. File free state taxes only It includes amounts paid for unused vacation leave. File free state taxes only You can deduct vacation pay only in the tax year in which the employee actually receives it. File free state taxes only This rule applies regardless of whether you use the cash or accrual method of accounting. File free state taxes only Prev  Up  Next   Home   More Online Publications