World Animal Day: Animal Charity Donations, Tax Deductions and You

Donating to a charity on World Animal Day doesn't only benefit the welfare of animals -- you can also benefit from some tax deductions.

Donating to a charity on World Animal Day doesn’t only benefit the welfare of animals — you can also benefit from some tax deductions. Read on to find out which donations are tax deductible, what you need for these deductions, and how to find the right organization for your donation.

Read More: 6 Tax Breaks for Pet Owners

Which Donations Can Receive Tax Deductions?

If you’re looking to make a donation to an animal shelter, rescue or adoption agency, it must be registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Visit the organization’s website or call them to verify their approved nonprofit status if there’s any doubt about qualification. Generally, you can qualify for a tax break for several types of donations.

Money and Cash Gifts

There’s no limit on how much you can donate, and organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offer special benefits for donors who contribute $500 and up. A monetary donation gives animal nonprofits the most leverage they need to purchase supplies and necessities. The Human Society states that $200 buys vaccines for 50 dogs and cats, $150 covers medical treatment, $75 pays for diagnostic x-rays, and even a small $5 gift buys a can of formula for orphaned puppies and kittens.

According to the IRS, you can generally deduct up to 50 percent of your gross adjusted income. Many nonprofits also offer donors the chance to contribute online. Donating money is the most direct way to help sheltered animals, since it affords welfare organizations to give them the medical care they need. At a no-kill shelter, donated dollars have the power to save an animal’s life.

Pet Food, Litter and Other Supplies

Food for the animals, treats, animal bedding, kennel cleaning supplies, medicine and toys donated to a shelter or animal nonprofit are all qualifying expenditures for a tax deduction, according to The Huffington Post. They also give animals awaiting new homes the amenities they need to stay fed, entertained, secure and happy.

Travel Expenses

Tax attorney Julian Block writes that many people overlook deducting their travel costs if they drive to and from the animal shelter, which can add up if you regularly make donation drop-offs. When you use your own car, you can deduct the cost of gas by keeping track of your miles. You can even donate a vehicle to an animal shelter and receive a tax deduction up to its fair market value. These travel donations are typically used toward purchasing items to help an animal’s health and well-being.

Stocks

The ASPCA will accept stock and securities gifts as an alternative to cash, which also carries a significant tax deduction. If the stock is lucrative enough, it allows a shelter more freedom to maximize their efforts without sacrificing the services they provide for their animals.

Personal Property

The ASPCA notes that donated items from your house, like artwork, books or furniture, that can be sold by an animal welfare nonprofit at a later date can also qualify you for a tax deduction, according to the item’s value. Like other non-cash donations, the value of your donation can turn into cash for an animal welfare nonprofit, which can translate into purchasing power that a shelter needs to operate.

Even the Simplest Donation Helps Shelters Succeed in Raising Animal Adoption Awareness

How to Apply for and Claim Your Deduction

Always keep accurate, complete records of your donations before reporting them on your tax return.

To deduct your contributions, itemize your deductions under Schedule A. For record-keeping and filing purposes, always remember to make a list of each individual nonprofit’s identifying Federal Tax ID number. For example, the ASPCA ID is 13-1623829.

Finding Nonprofit Organizations

Knowing where to donate is the first step to supporting animal welfare and saving on your taxes. A quick Google search of shelters in your area should turn up some immediate results, but you can also take advantage of websites like CharityNavigator.org to find charities and nonprofits seeking donations on World Animal Day and every day. Currently, the site lists more than 400 tax-exempt groups specializing in animal rights, veterinary care, no-kill rescue, wildlife conservation and more.