What is a qualified organization?
If you are itemizing your deductions, you can include any charitable donations that were made to a “qualified organization.” When you are making a donation to a group, or thinking about making a donation, you should ask that group if it is a qualified organized. Alternatively, you can review IRS Publication 78, entitled the “Cumulative List of Organizations described in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986,” which is a lengthy document (currently over 800 pages!) providing a detailed list of those organizations which qualify.
The most common qualified organizations which most individuals provide donations to include charities (such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army), religious organizations (such as churches, synagogues or mosques), nonprofit schools, nonprofit hospitals and government entities (as long as the contribution is solely to be used for a public purpose). The general categories of qualified organizations include:
1. Domestic organizations, trusts, funds, etc. which are operated for religious, charitable, educational, or scientific purposes, to help prevent cruelty to children or animals or to help foster amateur sports competition.
2. Domestic veterans’ organizations which have 75% or greater membership of Armed Forces veterans and which principally provide insurance and other benefits to veterans and/or their dependants.
3. Domestic fraternal societies, orders or associations which operate under a lodge system, if the contribution is used for one of the purposes listed under item 1 above.
4. State, federal and local governmental entities, if the contribution is used solely for public purposes.
5. Some Canadian, Israeli or Mexican charitable organizations, if you have derived some income from that same nation.
If you make a donation to an entity which is not a qualified organization, such as an individual or a political organization, your donation is not deductible.