Church: Does Tax Exempt Status Mean Personal Deductions?

When you give money to a church, tax exempt status provides the church with the advantage of not having to pay taxes on the donation. While this is a huge benefit to churches, it can also benefit you as a taxpayer. Here are a few things to consider about making donations to churches and how it can impact your taxes.

Tax Incentive

According to the IRS, giving money to a church is basically the same thing as giving money to any other type of charity. You will be able to deduct the amount of your donation to the church from your taxes. At the end of the year, you can add up your contributions and deduct that amount from your taxable income. This is not a dollar-for-dollar deduction of your taxes as with a tax credit. This is a reduction in your taxable income that proportionally lowers the amount of taxes that you will pay and could potentially put you in a lower tax bracket.

Itemized Deductions

Although you can use church contributions as tax deductions, not everyone does so. In order to take advantage of this deduction, you have to itemize the deductions on your tax return. When you file your taxes, you have two different options when handling your deductions. You can choose to take the standard deduction of whatever the IRS is currently allowing, or you can choose to itemize your deductions. With the standard deduction, you do not have to keep detailed records of your deductions. You can simply take the standard deduction without any other documentation required. If you choose the itemized deduction route, you will have to keep detailed records of everything that you plan on deducting.


In order to claim this deduction on your taxes, you will need to have proof that you made a contribution. Most of the time, churches will print out an itemized statement of all of the contributions that you have made during a calendar year. This will be sufficient when it comes to proving your contributions to the IRS. When you file your taxes, you do not need to send the statement in with your tax return. Instead, you should keep a copy of it with your records in case you are ever audited by the IRS.

Maximum Deduction

According to the IRS, you can deduct up to only a maximum of 50 percent of your annual income. Therefore, if you try to deduct more than this percentage, the IRS is going to disallow the deduction.

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