Are Crowdfunding Donations Tax Deductible?

In recent years, crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe have become powerful tools for individuals seeking financial support for a variety of personal and charitable causes. As the popularity of these platforms continues to grow, it’s essential to understand the tax implications of making or receiving donations through them. One common question that arises is are GoFundMe donations tax deductible?

Are Crowdfunding Donations Tax Deductible? | #Finances #Taxes

What are Crowdfunding Platforms?

The history of crowdfunding platforms, with GoFundMe being a notable pioneer, traces back to 2008. Originally developed as CreateAFund it later changed to GoFundMe. It was designed to facilitate fundraising for personal and charitable causes. Its user-friendly interface and focus on individual stories quickly set it apart. GoFundMe has allowed users to create campaigns for a wide range of needs, from medical expenses and disaster relief to educational pursuits and creative projects. 

The success of GoFundMe inspired the emergence of similar platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, each catering to distinct niches within the crowdfunding landscape. Kickstarter, launched in 2009, primarily focused on creative projects like films, music, and technology innovations. Indiegogo, founded in 2008, embraced a broader spectrum, including entrepreneurial ventures, technology development, and personal causes. 

Collectively, these platforms have democratized fundraising, enabling individuals and organizations worldwide to harness the power of the internet and collective generosity for the greater good.

Understanding Tax Deductibility and Crowdfunding Platforms

The tax deductibility of crowdfunding platform donations depends on the nature of the campaign and the recipient’s tax-exempt status. Generally, donations made to qualified charitable organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), such as a 501(c)3 are tax deductible. These organizations include nonprofits, religious institutions, educational organizations, and other entities that have registered with the IRS for tax-exempt status.

Not all crowdfuning campaigns fall under this category. Many campaigns on the platform are created for personal causes, such as medical expenses, education, or disaster relief. In these cases, the donations are likely not to be tax deductible since they are considered personal gifts rather than contributions to a qualified charitable organization.

Qualified Tax Deductible Charitable Organizations:

To ensure the tax deductibility of a GoFundMe donation, it’s crucial to verify that the campaign is associated with a qualified charitable organization. GoFundMe has introduced the Certified Charity Program, which allows campaign organizers to link their campaigns directly to registered nonprofits. Donations made to campaigns associated with certified charities are generally tax deductible.

If the campaign is not linked to a certified charity, donors should check whether the recipient is a qualified tax-exempt entity. This information is typically provided on the campaign page or can be verified by reaching out to the campaign organizer.

While it is always your choice whether or not you want to donate to a cause, you just need to understand that donations to persons, or groups outside of a tax-exempt entity are considered personal gifts and are not eligible for tax deduction.

Tax Deduction Documentation and Record-Keeping:

For donors seeking to claim a tax deduction, proper documentation is essential. Qualified charitable organizations issue donation receipts, also known as acknowledgment letters, which include the organization’s name, the amount donated, and a statement confirming that no goods or services were received in exchange for the donation.

When donating through GoFundMe, donors should retain these acknowledgment letters as proof of their contributions. In the absence of proper documentation, the IRS may deny the tax deduction claim.

While GoFundMe has revolutionized the way individuals can support one another, navigating the tax implications of donations is critical. To ensure the tax deductibility of GoFundMe donations, donors should carefully review the nature of the campaign and verify that it is associated with a qualified charitable organization. 

Keeping detailed records and obtaining acknowledgment letters from certified charities are crucial steps in maximizing the potential tax benefits of charitable giving through crowdfunding platforms. By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions, donors can contribute to causes they care about while also enjoying potential tax deductions.

We’re always glad to help you determine where you can gain the most tax deductions. Be sure to schedule your appointment early as the new year begins.

This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. Cowdery Tax and its representatives does not offer legal or tax advice. We offer services for business bookkeeping, payroll, tax payments, and personal tax filings. We share information that is publicly available. Tax laws may change with or without notice that may alter or change the information contained in this publication.