Charitable Donations

Americans living abroad can claim many of the same itemized deductions on their US expatriate tax returns as taxpayers in the United States. The rules that apply to taxpayers in the US relating to charitable contributions apply to expat taxpayers. 

Can American expats living abroad benefit from tax deductions for charitable donations?

In order to take a tax deductible donation on your US tax return,

  • Charitable contributions must be made to qualified organizations
  • You must also itemize deduction on Schedule A
  • Caution! Charitable contributions only benefit taxpayers with taxable income. Expatriates who live abroad and take advantage of the foreign income exclusion, tax credit, housing exclusion, or other benefits, may not have taxable income (Form 1040 Line 43).

The IRS has a list of approved charitable organizations. You can find them at Exempt Organization Select Check.

Can I deduct donations to foreign charities?

Almost all foreign charities are not qualified organizations; however certain Canadian, Israeli and Mexican charities qualify. See Publication 526 for more information on which foreign charitable organizations qualify.

Remember that the same rules that apply to taxpayers in the US relating to charitable contributions apply to expat taxpayers.

  • You are able to deduct the fair market value of goods and
  • Proper recordkeeping is required

See IRS Publication for 526 – Charitable Contributions for more information or contact us today to see if your charitable contribution qualifies.

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by Stephen Stambaugh

Last Updated: October 15, 2013