Charitable Deductions

Research Report

Charitable Deductions

From The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy
October 1, 1999


Since 1917, individual federal taxpayers have been allowed to deduct gifts to charitable and certain other nonprofit organizations. Such organizations were already exempt from the income tax. A charitable deduction extended the benefits of exemption to individual taxpayers, so that income donated to charitable organizations was exempted from all levels of income taxation. The deduction was intended to subsidize the activities of private organizations that provide viable alternatives to direct government programs.

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