What types of contributions/donations can I deduct?
Generally, any money or property which you give to a qualified organization, or which you give to another “for the use of” a qualified organization, can be included as an itemized deduction. If your contribution to a qualified organization was in the form of property, you can generally only deduct it if you give your full interest in the property (for example, if you donate the right for someone to use a room in your house, but do not actually donate your house, you cannot take a deduction).
In addition to direct contributions, you can also generally deduct any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred while you were offering volunteered services to a qualified organization, as long as: (i) you were not reimbursed for those services; (ii) the expenses were not personal expenses; and (iii) the expenses were only a result of the donation of your services. For example, if you have to wear a uniform while performing charitable services, you can deduct the expense of that uniform. But you cannot deduct the cost of a meal while you ate while doing volunteer work because it is an expense you would have incurred anyway, even if you were not doing charity work.
Finally, if you have arranged to have a foreign student (who is not a relative or a dependent) live with you, you can deduct up to $50 per month for expenses of housing that student if there is a written agreement between you and a qualified organization. However, you cannot deduct these expenses if you are housing the student as part of a mutual exchange program, with your child similarly being housed abroad.