Charitable deduction around the world

Charitable deductions provide financial incentives to taxpayers to donate generously to charities. Taxpayers can utilize such opportunities to benefit a charity and make the most of their tax savings by deducting some or all of their contributions on their tax returns. The current law allows taxpayers (with itemized deductions) to deduct their taxes as charitable donations to such qualified organizations. These organizations may be public or private. In this blog you will find an explanation of how charitable deductions work around the world.

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Charitable deductions throughout the years

Public organizations include religious, non-profit, educational, scientific, literary, or other organizations working to protect animals. Private organizations usually work by collecting donations and then funding other charities rather than operating charity activities directly. The present-day law also states that if a taxpayer does not claim their charitable deductions in the current tax year, they can do so within five years; however, specific limitations are involved in this case.

Charitable deductions or tax-deductible contributions can be given by taxpayers as cash, property, or even as securities. In the case of property and securities, the total amount of tax a taxpayer can deduct to donate to a charity depends upon the type of property being donated by the taxpayer and the charitable organization receiving the donation. There are specific limitations placed on these types of deductions that depend upon the percentage of the individual’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). For example, long-term capital gain property (property held for more than a year) involves 30% of AGI.

Charitable tax deductions were first enacted in 1917 and have changed throughout the years from “a short statutory provision.” Over the course of the past 100 years, deductions for charitable donations have undergone major changes. In the beginning years, charitable deductions were not to be considered as income for taxation purposes, and it was only applied to the top income distribution. It is fair to say that in the early years, charitable deductions were enacted solely to provide protection in voluntary donations to public goods by rich industrialists. As of today, charitable deduction legislation is more focused on providing a financial incentive to taxpayers to make donations.

How do charitable deductions work?


Charitable deductions work to promote the act of generously donating to charities by providing taxpayers with a financial incentive i.e., by reducing the tax bill. Taxpayers can utilize income tax deduction by donating to a qualified public charity. In this way, charitable deductions provide taxpayers with a great opportunity to donate for a good cause and ultimately make a significant change in the world.

Charitable deductions are applicable for taxpayers when they itemize their taxes. This is generally done when the expected amount of tax deduction (inclusive of charitable donations) amounts to more than the standard deduction. It is in the best interest of the taxpayers to keep a record of their annual donations to qualified charities. Then, at the time of filing taxes, they can use large deductions to reduce their tax bill.

To take a tax deduction, a taxpayer needs to sum up their annual charitable donations and ensure they exceed the limit of the standard deduction. State taxes, local taxes, mortgages, charitable donations, or medical expenses all qualify as charitable deductions. The maximum amount a taxpayer can claim as a charitable tax deduction on their taxes varies. For instance, if they pay cash to a public charity foundation, they can deduct approximately 60% of their AGI. In the case of long-term property or stocks (held for more than a year), charitable tax deductions amount up to 30% of AGI. A great way to increase the number of charitable tax deductions is to combine more than one asset.

All taxpayers are assigned a tax bracket; these tax brackets depend upon their taxable income and filing status. The amount of tax applied to a taxpayer’s income varies with each of the tax brackets they fall under. For instance, if the taxpayer is an unmarried individual who earns $10,275, then the applicable income tax rate will amount up to 12%. On the other hand, the same amount of income tax rate is applicable for a married taxpayer earning $20,550.

Certain things must be kept in mind by a taxpayer if they plan to claim their charitable tax deductions by donating to a charity. The charity organization must be a non-profit private or public organization. The tax receipt provided by the charity must also be saved in order to prove the transaction. In the case of non-monetary donations, such as property, taxpayers are usually required to obtain a qualified evaluation to determine and prove the value of the charitable deduction they are claiming. Lastly, to claim tax returns, taxpayers must organize their paperwork and properly list all of the charity donations they made during the year.

Before 2017, the Pease limitation had significant effects on tax deductions as it reduced the charitable tax deductions for high-income taxpayers. The Pease limitation reduced high-income taxpayers’ charitable deductions by 3% of AGI. As of now, the Pease limitation has been lifted, giving more financial incentive to taxpayers to make charitable donations and contribute to a good cause.

The benefit of donating to charity for corporations

The incentive for corporations to donate to charity organizations lies in tax deduction. Perhaps a business corporation may not be able to see immediate results by making contributions to public and private charity foundations. However, a reduction in their tax bill is an immediately observable outcome that can certainly kindle the interest of corporations in charity donations. While tax deductions are undoubtedly financially beneficial for business corporations, the benefits of donating to a charity are not limited to merely tax reduction.


The impact of donating

Make-A-Wish can only grant the wishes of eligible children due to the financial help we receive through donations. Whether the donation is large or small, it contributes greatly towards the wish-granting of critically ill children. Once you donate, you give these children hope and confidence and the ability to make more memories with their loved ones. Donate today!


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What are charitable deductions?

The simplest way to describe charitable deductions would be as an advantage or incentive taxpayers receive in order to encourage them to give to a charity. It encourages them to generously donate to a respective organization. Charitable deductions allow taxpayers to have the amount they wish to donate for charity deducted from their tax returns. Either the entire donated amount or some of it can be deducted, putting taxpayers at an advantage. Charitable deductions are a way of benefiting both the parties involved i.e the one that gives the donations and those who receive them. The charitable deduction is applicable to both cash and property.

What is the limit on charitable deductions for 2022?

The amount of charitable deduction depends on the type of charitable contribution a taxpayer gives i.e cash, property, or stocks. Limitations on charitable deductions depend on the taxpayer’s AGI. i.e., Adjusted Gross Income. A property held for over a year includes thirty percent of AGI. If a taxpayer gives a donation in cash to a public charity foundation, they can get an approximate deduction of sixty percent on their AGI. A taxpayer can get a deduction amounting to approximately thirty percent of AGI if they donate stocks or property held for over a year. It also depends on the income and filing status of the taxpayers.

Which countries allow charitable deductions?

One of the countries that allow charitable deductions is America. If you are an American citizen and taxpayer who wishes to donate to a charity organization, you can avail of charitable deductions. Utah, Arkansas, and South Dakota are some of the many American states that allow charitable deductions. As for a charitable contribution to a Canadian charity, the IRS states, “to deduct your contribution to a Canadian charity, you generally must have income from sources in Canada.” In countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, UK, Germany, and many more you can claim charitable deductions. If you are uncertain if your country allows charitable deductions, consult the respective tax adviser.

Is my donation to Make-A-Wish deductible?

If you are a taxpayer intending to make a donation to Make-A-Wish America and receive charitable deductions on it, you will be able to do so with certain limitations imposed by the IRS. Your donation is deductible to certain amounts depending on your income, filing status, AGI, and the type of donation you make. If you are donating to Make-A-Wish Australia, donations of over two dollars are tax-deductible. In the case of Make-A-Wish Canada, every ecard you purchase will give you a tax deduction. If you are uncertain if the Make-A-Wish Affiliate in your country allows charitable deductions, consult the respective tax adviser or contact the foundation in your country for further clarification.

Sarah Labelle

Sarah Labelle

Sarah Labelle is Digital Fundraising Manager at Make-A-Wish International, having joined the organization in 2022 after a previous mission in humanitarian healthcare. Sarah oversees new donor acquisitions and conversions through our digital channels. Additionally, Sarah manages the e-commerce side of the website, email marketing and strives to deliver a smooth donation process for all Make-A-Wish supporters.