Enhanced Charitable Giving
Temporary Universal Charitable Deduction – $300 above the line —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.
If you take the standard deduction on your 2020 tax return (the one that you’ll file in 2021), you can claim a brand new “above-the-line” deduction of up to $300 for cash donations to charity you make this year. Donations to donor advised funds and certain organizations that support charities are not deductible. Normally, you have to itemize on Schedule A to get a tax break for charitable donations. In this case, though, it’s the other way around — if you itemize, you can’t take this new deduction.
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. If you itemize on Schedule A of your tax return, you can claim a deduction for your charitable donations. However, the amount you can deduct for cash contributions is generally limited to 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Any cash donations over that amount can be carried over for up to five years and deducted later.
The CARES Act lifts the 60% of AGI limit for cash donations made in 2020 (although there’s still a 100% of AGI limit on all charitable contributions). That means itemizers can deduct more of their charitable cash contributions this year, which will hopefully boost charitable giving. As with the new above-the-line deduction, donations to donor advised funds and supporting organizations don’t count.