CARES Act Expands Charitable Giving Tax Deductions

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It is a $2 trillion stimulus package to provide immediate relief to ease burdens caused by the pandemic. Among the provisions are several designed to inspire charitable giving. 

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CARES Act Charitable Giving Incentives (credit to the AFP Global website):

  • Temporary Universal Charitable Deduction—Taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions can take a one-time deduction of up to $300 for gifts made to charitable organizations. The provision is intended only for the year 2020; however, in the text of the bill, it states taxable years “beginning in 2020 …” and does not include a sunset date, thus it conceivably could extend beyond 2020. The deduction is ONLY for gifts of cash made in calendar year 2020 and does not cover other types of gifts or contributions made to donor-advised funds or private foundations.
  • Suspends the 60 percent adjusted gross income limitation for individuals’ charitable contributions for the year 2020. In a typical year, individuals can only take a charitable deduction of up to 60 percent of their adjusted gross income, no matter how much they give. For 2020, there is no limit, making cash contributions fully deductible.
  • Increases the cap on how much corporations may deduct for charitable gifts from 10 percent of taxable income to 25 percent. In addition, the limitation on deductions for food donations by corporations increases from 15 percent to 25 percent in 2020.
  • Waives for 2020 the required minimum distributions from retirement plans, such as pensions and 457 plans. Any minimum distributions from retirements plans that would have been required in 2020 can be delayed until 2021. This change reduces the incentive for donors to make gifts from their individual retirement account (IRA)—the IRA Rollover Provision

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