Are Political Contributions or Donations Tax Deductible (1440 x 600)

Are Political Donations Tax Deductible? Rules Around Contributions

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In addition to showing your support by voting in the upcoming election, you may have also chosen to make a financial contribution to your political candidate of choice during their campaign. If you’re wondering what your contributions to a political campaign, party, or cause mean for your taxes, you’re not alone.

Are political donations tax deductible?

Political contributions are not tax deductible for individuals. When you’re considering how to give this year, you might be wondering, “Are campaign contributions tax deductible?” Though giving money to your candidate of choice is a great way to get involved in public matters that matter to you, donations to political candidates are not tax-deductible.

According to the IRS: “You can’t deduct contributions to organizations that aren’t qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions, including political organizations and candidates.” This includes Political Action Committees (PACs) as well.

Two men exchanging cash.

What’s considered a political donation?

Political donations are contributions you make to support a political party or campaign. Whether you donate to a political action committee (PAC), a party, or a politician, your contributions are considered a political donation.

Money is just one way of contributing to a political campaign. Some other common examples of political donations include:

  • Loans
  • Crypto contributions
  • Proceeds from sales
  • In-kind contributions (goods or services offered for free or at a reduced price)

Political donations are a simple way for individuals to support a political party or campaign. The money you contribute goes toward fundraising and advertising, paying campaign staff, and other campaign-related costs.

You can donate to any campaign, candidate, or party you choose, but there are yearly contribution limits for individuals. 

Are political contributions tax deductible for businesses?

Businesses cannot deduct political contributions, donations, or payments on their tax return.

If I volunteer for a political campaign, can I deduct my expenses?

If you volunteer for a political candidate, political campaign, political action committee (PAC), or any group that seeks to influence legislation, the time you donate associated with that work is not a tax-deductible expense.

Is supporting the Presidential Election Campaign Fund tax deductible?

You can set aside $3 of your taxes to go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund on your Form 1040 U.S. Individual Income tax return if you desire. All you have to do is check the box. You should be aware that this will not affect your taxes or deductions, nor will it change your refund amount or increase any taxes you may owe. These funds are simply set aside to go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund instead of the US Treasury. 

Political candidate giving a speech.

Are in-kind contributions to political campaigns tax deductible?

An in-kind contribution is any non-money contribution you make to a political campaign or party. If you offer tangible goods or services for free or at a reduced price, that’s considered an in-kind contribution.

Your time is also considered an in-kind contribution, so volunteering is an excellent way to contribute to the political efforts you support.

In-kind political contributions aren’t tax-deductible. Even in-kind contributions to qualified charitable organizations aren’t tax-deductible. Although you won’t get a tax break for donating your services to a political campaign, volunteering is still a worthwhile personal contribution.

What types of organizations can I donate to for a deduction?

Why are political contributions treated differently than charitable donations?

You receive a tax write-off for charitable contributions, so why aren’t political contributions eligible?

Some of the most common charitable donations include contributions to:

  • Churches, temples, mosques, and other qualified religious organizations
  • Federal, state, or local government for public use
  • Nonprofit schools and hospitals
  • Other qualified nonprofit organizations, including Girls Scouts of America and the American Red Cross

Unlike charitable donations, political donations are used to influence legislation or support the election of a political candidate. This is why political donations aren’t tax-deductible.

The IRS has strict tax deduction rules. Charitable donations are only tax-deductible if they’re made to a qualified organization. Gifts to individuals and non-qualified charitable organizations are also not deductible.

Some other charitable donations that aren’t tax-deductible include contributions to:

  • Nonqualified charitable organizations
  • Groups that seek to influence legislation
  • Political groups or candidates
  • Social and sports clubs, labor unions, and chambers of commerce
  • Country clubs, lodges, and homeowners’ associations

You can track your charitable donations throughout the year and report them on Form 1040, Schedule A if you are able to itemize your deductions. If you’re planning to itemize deductions but you’re not sure which contributions qualify, consult a tax expert.

What are the political contribution limits?

What are the political donation limits?

If you still want to financially support a candidate or party, here are a few things to keep in mind when you make your contributions. According to the Federal Election Commission, for 2023-2024, an individual may donate:

  • up to $3,300 per candidate per election
  • up to $10,000 to state, district, and local parties combined each year
  • up to $123,900 to a national political party per account per year

Additionally, individual donations to issues-orientated political action committees (PACs) are capped at $5,000 per year.

What donations are tax deductible?

You must give to a registered non-profit organization (not an individual) that operates as a true charity to take a tax deduction for the donation.

If you volunteer or give cash or non-cash items to a 501(c)(3) organization, your donation may be a qualified tax-deductible charitable contribution. You can confirm whether the organization you are going to make a donation to is a 501(c)(3) organization using the Tax-Exempt Organization Search Tool from the IRS.

For more information on what charitable donations are tax-deductible, who can deduct a charitable donation, and donating cash vs donating items, read our charitable giving and your taxes blog post.

Be sure to keep checking back here for updated information and tips on how to maximize your tax refund with tax deductions and tax credits that you may be able to qualify for, but don’t worry about knowing these tax rules.

No matter what moves you made last year, TurboTax will make them count on your taxes. Whether you want to do your taxes yourself or have a TurboTax expert file for you, we’ll make sure you get every dollar you deserve and your biggest possible refund – guaranteed. 

5 responses to “Are Political Donations Tax Deductible? Rules Around Contributions”

  1. It is beginning to look like all this so called IRS scandal is really an attempt by some folks to try to shelter thier political contributions from taxation by setting up these phony Tea Party “social welfare’ organizations. I’m still waitng to see what sort of charitable work these Tea Party groups perform? Amaxing that the Republicans are making themselves the grand protectors of the tax cheaters .

  2. In India it all toghether different, Indian Income tax Act allows deduction for contribuiting to political parties which are registeted under trust act, societies act, companies act. An individual can get tax deduction u/s 80GGC of the Income Tac Act for the donations given to political parties.

    Harshal Kulkarn

    • So the tax law in a country on the other side of the globe is different? I already assumed that. In fact the tax law for one US state can differ from the neighboring state and the laws of the whole country can differ from neighboring countries so the fact that one particular law in the US differs from India is not a surprise.

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