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Limits on charitable deductions are quite high

The federal income tax charitable deduction can be an important part of your planning for charitable giving. While there are limits as to how much you can deduct, they’re very high.

For most people, probably the vast majority in fact, the limits on charitable contributions simply won’t apply. Generally speaking, if your contribution is made to a public charity, your charitable deduction is limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income. So, for example, if you have an adjusted gross income of $100,000, your deduction limit for that year is $50,000.

Even when you hit the limit, a “carry forward” is allowed. If you give an amount in excess of the applicable limitation to charity in one year, the excess can be carried forward for the next five years.

It is true that depending on the types of charities and types of gifts, there are other, lower limits – 20% and 30% of adjusted gross income. The rules on 20% limits and 30% limits are very complicated.

The bottom line is that only if you contribute more than 20% of your adjusted gross income to charity is it necessary to be concerned about donation limits. Consult with your professional advisor to determine whether and how the ceilings will apply.

Gordon Fischer Law Firm, P.C. is dedicated to promoting and maximizing charitable giving in Iowa. Gordon can be reached by phone at 515-371-6077; by email at; and through his website at

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