How to File a Charity Donation on a 1040 Tax Form

You must file using form 1040 to claim a charitable donation tax deduction.

The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, permits people who itemize their deductions to write off the value of donations they made during the year. Only donations made to qualifying organizations can be written off (see resources for the IRS online database of qualified organizations). In addition, when you itemize your deductions, you are no longer eligible to claim the standard deduction. Therefore, you should only itemize if your deductions exceed the value of your standard deduction. If not, it is better to forgo the itemized deductions in favor of being able to claim the standard deduction.


Step 1

Sort all of the receipts you have from your charitable donations for the year into one group of cash donations and one group of non-cash donations.

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Step 2

Total the value of all cash donations (including checks) and write the result on line 16 of your schedule A.

Step 3

Total the value of your non-cash donations (gifts) and write the result on line 17 of your schedule A. Non-cash donations includes any non-monetary gifts you make such as stocks, vehicles, clothing, furniture or other property.


Step 4

Complete section A of form 8283 if your non-cash donation is between $500 and $5,000. If any of your non-cash donations exceeds $5,000 you will need to complete section B of form 8283.

Step 5

Write the total of your charitable donations on line 19 of schedule A. This amount is added to the other itemized deductions that you claimed and reported on line 29 of schedule A and line 40a of your form 1040 tax return.


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