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Money, time, items: How to deduct donations from your taxes

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Money, time, items: How to deduct donations from your taxes

Monday, December 4, 2023, 2:00 p.m

Neustadt an der Weinstrasse – Anyone who supports those in need with financial resources, German lessons or children’s clothing can deduct their donation from their taxes. The wage tax assistance association United Wage Tax Assistance e. V. (VLH) shows what you have to pay attention to with the different types of donations.

The classic among donations: the cash donation

The basic rule for monetary donations is: They must go to a non-profit organization, for example clubs, churches, universities or state museums.

For an individual donation of up to 300 euros, a simplified proof of donation is sufficient, for example a printout from online banking. If the donation exceeds 300 euros, a donation confirmation is required – i.e. written proof of the organization that received the monetary donation.

Tipp: In times of increasing online banking, the tax office usually accepts a printout of the transfer up to 300 euros. If this is not the case, you can ask the tax-privileged organization for a donation receipt.

If you do not use online banking or if the donation is collected by direct debit, you can also provide a copy of the bank statement as proof. Your own name and account number, as well as the name of the donation recipient, the amount and the booking date must be visible on the account statement. If possible, you should also enclose the pre-printed transfer slip with the copy of the account statement.

From baby clothes to electrical appliances: the donation in kind

Typical examples of donations in kind include clothing, school bags, backpacks, cell phones, toys or even hygiene items. Donations in kind can be deducted from taxes as a special expense under the following conditions:

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First, the donor must determine the value of his donation in kind. Donations in kind are valued at the so-called fair value. This is the price at the time of donation. If the item is new, the valuation is simple: the value of the item is on the invoice. If the item is used, the donor must estimate the market value. In many cases it is helpful to compare similar items in classified ads.

If you want to deduct a donation in kind from your taxes, you need a donation confirmation. This proof must be issued by the donation recipient – i.e. the non-profit organization – and contain the following information: The exact name of the donated item, age, condition and original purchase price as well as the current estimated value of the donation in kind and finally the date on which the item was donated.

If several items are donated at the same time, for example a set of jerseys and footballs, no flat rate price may be given. Instead, a list should be created with the exact name of each item as well as the purchase date and price, condition and market value. A total price can be stated in the donation confirmation, but the itemized list must be attached as an attachment. The value of the donation in kind is one of the special expenses and, like the monetary donation, is entered on page one of the special expenses appendix.

Donate working time: Donate your expenses

Giving language lessons, supervising homework, training young people in football or organizing excursions: Anyone who is involved in a club can deduct the free working time from their taxes. The following requirements must be met:

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The volunteer has agreed in advance in writing with the organization on an appropriate remuneration and unconditionally waives the money after the voluntary work. He then receives a donation confirmation and can enter the amount as a special expense in the special expenses appendix.

The VLH: Largest income tax assistance association in Germany

The wage tax assistance association United Wage Tax Assistance e. V. (VLH) is Germany’s largest income tax assistance association with more than a million members and around 3,000 advice centers nationwide. Founded in 1972, VLH also provides the most consultants certified according to DIN 77700.

The VLH prepares the income tax return for its members, applies for all tax reductions, checks the tax assessment and much more within the scope of the limited advisory authority in accordance with Section 4 No. 11 StBerG.

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