Is My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donation Tax Deductible?

Read the Article

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taken social media by storm all for a good cause to help raise money and awareness about the incurable disease.

The challenge involves people pouring buckets of ice water on themselves and posting it on their social media channels and then nominating others to do the same.

If you are challenged and chicken out, you have to make a donation to the ALS charity of your choice.

So what are the tax implications for those who donate money because they can’t stand the thought ice rolling down their backs or messing up their hair?

There has been some question about whether donations as part of the Ice Bucket Challenge would be tax deductible since the IRS looks at a donor’s intent when allowing a donation to be tax deductible.  And in this case, the donors are not initiating the donations, but are making them because perhaps they don’t want to brave the cold, but still bring awareness to ALS.

Well, if you were nominated to take the Ice Bucket Challenge and decided to keep warm and donate, you can relax. In order for a donation to lack intent, you must also receive a financial benefit from the contribution.

In the ice bucket challenge you are not receiving anything in return so your choice to skip the ice and donate will be tax deductible.

If you donate, just make sure you keep your receipt from the ALS charity acknowledging your donation so you can claim it on your taxes when it comes time to file.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is still going strong so if someone challenges you, you may decide to take on the cold, donate, or maybe even do both. Either way you will be doing something for a great cause.



6 responses to “Is My ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donation Tax Deductible?”

  1. Hi, Lisa.

    I think you should know that the Ice Bucket Challenge asks participants to either A) dump ice on themselves AND donate $10 to charity, or B) refuse to dump ice on themselves and instead donate a greater amount of $100 to charity. Your characterization that those who take the ice bucket challenge do not donate to charity is erroneous. As someone who both poured ice on myself and set up a recurring donation to a cause dear to my heart, I would appreciate your correcting this error in your piece, so that readers who consider taking the ice bucket challenge do not mistakenly think that its premise is to dump ice RATHER than donate to worthy causes.

    Thank you.

  2. I suggest the deductibility might depend on whether the person/organization donated to is an ISR-recognized nonprofit. I know some people who donated to individuals with ALS, Those would not be deductible charitable donations. For example, see Those are gifts, not charitable contributions to IRS-recognized charitable organizations.

    • Thank you for that clarification. Giving to specific individuals is not the same as giving to a charitable organization.

  3. Lora,
    If you are entering 2014 contributions in It’s Deductible, they will transfer into your 2014 tax return.

    Mary Ellen

Leave a Reply