IRS COVID-19 benefit: How to get up to $600 tax deduction


FILE – The exterior of an American Red Cross branch that started to treat COVID-19 patients with plasma donations on May 11, 2020 in Fairfield, New Jersey. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – If you make a cash donation to charity before the end of 2021, you can take advantage of expanded tax benefits approved under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This includes deductions up to $300 for individuals and $600 for married couples who gave cash donations to qualifying charities during 2021, the IRS said.

Normally, people who elect the standard deduction – 9 in 10 taxpayers, the IRS estimates – aren’t able to claim donations for an additional deduction. But under the CARES Act, contributions to charity through the end of the year will qualify taxpayers for more money back.

The benefit applies only to cash donations made in 2021, and donations made to most charitable organizations qualify, according to the IRS.

Here are some examples of qualifying charitable contributions:

  • Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious organizations
  • Federal, state, and local governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce the public debt or maintain a public park)
  • Nonprofit schools and hospitals
  • The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc.
  • War veterans’ groups
  • Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization
  • Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer

The IRS reminds taxpayers to keep good records of their donations if they plan to claim a deduction. “Usually, this includes obtaining an acknowledgment letter from the charity before filing a return and retaining a canceled check or credit card receipt for contributions of cash,” the IRS says.

There are also changes in 2021 for taxpayers who itemize their deductions and corporations that donate to charity. For more information, check the IRS website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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