It’s hard to turn on the TV and not see a political ad or commentary on the candidates. No matter who you are pulling for, they continue to make the case that they need your dollars to win. According to Open Secrets, though less than 1% of the US population donates in the presidential election, they contribute nearly $1B dollars just to the top of ticket. Many people simply donate $5-10 but others donate up to the $2,500 limit. Do you know if the dollars you have donated are tax deductible?
Short answer – NO. To be tax deductible, the organization you are donating to must have a 501c3 status with the IRS. One of the large stipulations for maintaining that nonprofit status is that 501c3 organizations “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” What this means is campaigns are not nonprofit organizations and therefore not tax deductible.
You can still have your voice heard through the almighty dollar by donating to nonprofit organizations. Find active groups who align with your views, such as groups that focus on educating voters on important issues and those who hold voter registration drives. Many nonprofits are able to participate in limited lobbying of candidates. They are also able to encourage candidates to prioritize the organization’s cause.
There aren't many things more American than participating in our democratic process. If you decide to exercise your voice by making a financial contribution to the candidates of your choice, just remember the information provided above. Even if you don't make a donation make sure you do your part and vote.