Are Political Donations Tax Deductible?
Election season is right around the corner, and you might be wondering if the money that you contribute to a political campaign can be deducted from your taxes. The short answer is no, political donations aren’t tax deductible. They’re often confused for other types of donations that are tax deductible.
Political Donations Are NOT Tax Deductible
Money that you contribute to a person, campaign, or political party is not tax deductible. This includes:
- Money that you may contribute to a specific candidate running for office
- Donations that you’ve given to a political party
- Money that you’ve donated to a campaign committee
- Money that you’ve donated via emails or newsletters to a political candidate, campaign, or party
- Donations made to PACS (political action committees)
- Ticket prices to political events or dinners that benefit a candidate or party
- Merchandise that benefits a candidate, party, or campaign
- Business donations made in the name of your business to any political candidate, party, or campaign
- Volunteer hours spent volunteering for political campaigns, parties, and candidates
- Expenses and supplies incurred while volunteering for a political candidate, campaign, or party
Why aren’t political donations tax deductible?
People are often confused as to why political donations aren’t tax deductible, and generally comes down to the word “donation”. The IRS has clear standards on what constitutes a charitable donation, and the organization must be a qualified organization per their guidelines.
Qualified organizations include nonprofits, religious organizations, foundations/corporations designed specifically for charitable use, veterans organizations, volunteer fire companies, and more. If you’re curious as to the status of a specific organization and if it is acceptable for charitable contributions, you can search for it on the IRS tax-exempt organization search. Political parties, campaigns, and individuals running for office are not included on that list.
If you make a charitable contribution (not to a political campaign, party, or candidate), be sure to keep a record of your contribution so that you can itemize it when filing your taxes.
Political Contribution Limits
While contributions to political causes, campaigns, and people are not tax deductible, there are limits on how much you can donate. These limits are set by the Federal Election Commission and if you donate beyond the limit, the campaign or individual will be unable to use the money.
Individuals may donate up to $2,900 to a candidate committee per election. Individuals may donate up to $5,000 per year to a PAC, and $10,000 per year combined to party committees including state, district, and local. To a national party committee, individuals may donate up to $36,500 per year, with an additional national party committee account amount of $109,500 per account, per year.
Other Tax Deductions
Political contributions aren’t tax deductible, but there are many tax deductions you might be missing when you’re filing your taxes. Working with a tax professional can help you to ensure that you’re getting all of the deductions possible to lower your tax bill.
Want tax tips delivered to your inbox?