$300 Charitable Deduction for Non-Itemizers

Karen O'Brien |

Generally, charitable contributions can only be a deduction if you itemize your personal deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) near-doubling of the standard deduction, today only about 10% of taxpayers itemize deductions on their Federal return. 

The CARES Act, among other coronavirus relief efforts, instituted a provision allowing people to deduct a $300 above-the-line deduction for Qualified Charitable Contributions without itemizing deductions.  This means about 90% of taxpayers, and a lot of good charities, can potentially benefit from this new tax break in some way.

Key Points for Taking the Deduction:

  • You must file your return using the standard deduction.
  • As an above-the-line deduction, when you donate up to $300 in cash to a qualified organization your adjusted gross income (AGI) will be reduced by up to $300.
  • If you are married and filing jointly, your deduction is still limited to $300.
  • Your Qualified Charitable Contributions must be made by cash, check, or credit card payment (no household items or securities) and given to a 501(c)(3) public charity.
  • Contributions cannot be used to fund either donor-advised funds (DAFs) or 509(a)(3) “supporting organizations”.
  • Be sure to keep all your electronic or paper receipts or have bank records showing the date and amount of your contributions

If you are considering giving to your favorite charity for the holidays, you have until December 31st to collect this tax break for 2020.