Is Tithing Tax Deductible?

May 20, 2024 - Friendly Tax Expert

Have you ever wondered if your tithes and offerings to a religious institution are tax deductible? It's a question that many individuals of faith have had, especially when it comes to their annual tax filing. Tithing, the act of giving one-tenth of your income back to your church or place of worship, is an age-old practice that has its roots in biblical teachings. But since taxes can be quite complicated and deductions are highly sought after, it makes sense to wonder if tithing falls under the same category.

In this blog post, we'll explore the topic of whether or not tithing is considered tax deductible and provide some much-needed clarity on this often-debated subject. So if you're ready to learn more about how your generosity towards your faith may impact your taxes, read more.

Can I deduct my tithing from my taxes?

The short answer is yes, you can deduct your tithing from your taxes if you itemize your deductions. When you make a donation to a qualified charitable organization, such as a church or religious organization, that donation is tax deductible. However, there are some limitations to consider.

In order to claim a deduction for your tithing, you must have documentation of your donations, such as receipts or bank statements. Additionally, the total amount of your charitable contributions must exceed a certain threshold in order to be eligible for a deduction.

When is a donation not tax deductible?

While church donations are not specifically excluded from being tax deductible, there are certain circumstances where a donation may not be considered eligible for a deduction.

You received something in exchange for your donation

Donations to churches and religious organizations usually qualify for tax deductions. However, when you receive goods or services in return for your donation, it alters the tax-deductible status.

For instance, if you donate to a church and receive a book or a seminar entry in return, the value of these goods or services must be deducted from your total donation amount before claiming a deduction. This ensures that only the net value of your donation, beyond what you received back, can be considered for tax purposes.

So if you attended a church auction and got an item in return for your donation, you cannot get any tax deduction for the amount you paid if you get fair market value for the item you received.

Money inside a golden donation bowl for a church

Your tithes exceeded 60% of your adjusted gross income

There are also limits on how much of your donation can be deducted based on your income. As of the latest tax rules, if your donation (tithing included) exceeds 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI), the amount exceeding this threshold cannot be deducted in the current tax year.

However, you may carry over the excess to subsequent years, subject to the same limitation. While this does not usually happen as donors don't normally donate more than 60% of their AGI, it is something to consider if you have a high income and make large donations.

Your donation was not recorded by the church

Proper documentation is crucial for any charitable donation deductions, including tithes. If your church or religious organization does not provide or maintain records of your donations, you may find yourself unable to claim tithes as deductions.

Always ensure you receive a written acknowledgment for any church tithes or donation above $250, as this is required for tax purposes.

Your church is not registered

For your tithes to be tax-deductible, the church or organization must be registered and recognized as a tax-exempt entity by the IRS. Donations made to entities that do not have this status will not qualify for a tax deduction.

It's important to verify the tax-exempt status of your church or any religious organization before making a donation, especially if you plan to claim it on your taxes.

Hands filled with coins on top of a black Holy Bible

How to claim tax deductions for tithes and donations

To claim a tax deduction for your tithes and offerings, you will need to itemize your deductions on Schedule A of your federal income tax return. You must also make sure you meet all the requirements set by the IRS, including proper documentation and donation limits.

If you have questions or are unsure about how to properly claim a deduction for your donations when you pay taxes , consult with a tax professional to get proper advice.