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  Print Version

By Ben Borchers, CPA Senior Accountant

"He who wishes to secure the good of others has already secured his own." - Confucius

Giving to charity is a strong tradition within the United States of America. We all admire people who live the credo "It's better to give than receive." Seeing as this is the time of year most Americans file their tax returns, let's review prior year data regarding charitable contributions.

Every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reports data obtained from filed tax returns of the previous calendar year. The National Center for Charitable Statistic utilizes the related information to compile and calculate charitable giving statistics. How does your generosity compare to the national average?

Average Charitable Contribution Per Income Tax Return

2010   $1,188
2005   $1,354
2000   $1,050
1995    $  634

Average Charitable Contribution Per Return Expressed As A Percent of Adjusted Gross Income

2010   2.1%
2005   2.5%
2000   2.2%
1995   1.8%

The source of data published by the IRS regarding charitable contributions includes returns with itemized deductions exclusively. Historically speaking, roughly one third of taxpayers itemize their deductions while the remaining taxpayers apply the standard deduction. Nobody knows precisely how much non-itemizers donate to charity. Regardless of the limitations, analysis of available data from an itemized taxpayer return provides useful trends and patterns for the American population.

Hopefully this article served as an educational tool and shed light regarding individual charitable contributions over the years. Whether great or small, acts of charity are a constructive way to bring positive change to the world.



If you have any questions regarding the article above or any other issue affecting your not-for-profit organization please contact your Blue & Co. advisor or e-mail us at or call us at 800-717-BLUE


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CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, we are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including any attachments, is not intended or written by us to be used, and cannot be used, by anyone for the purpose of avoiding federal tax penalties that may be imposed by the federal government or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.


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