Monday, February 8, 2016

What kinds of contributions are tax-deductible?

DEAR HARRY: I have just received a letter from a political-action committee stating that my contributions were not tax deductible. Until now, I have filed using a standard deduction, so I never had to deal with this situation. Is there some way to determine what contributions qualify for deductibility? I want to keep Uncle Sam away from my door.

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Most of coursely! There are lots of borderline cases, as I'm sure you're aware. Here are the categories available: domestic nonprofit organizations exclusively for pew rent, dues and assessments of churches and synagogues; charities, such as the American Cancer Society; scientific, literary and educational, such as the University of Pennsylvania; prevention of cruelty to children or animals; promoting amateur sports activities; nonprofit domestic veterans' groups; nonprofit cemetery groups; the U.S., states, cities, Indian tribal governing bodies. With a few exceptions, you must receive no direct benefit from any of these groups. Political-campaign committees and political-action committees are out, too. So are lobbying groups. The value of personal services (but not the direct expenses paid) and free rent are not deductible. To the government's shame, the value of donated blood is also out.

Email Harry Gross at, or

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.
Daily News Personal Finance Columnist
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