According to this question looks like donation will only have tax benefit if I itemize my deductions, and itemizing deduction seems to be only beneficial if you have expenses such as medical care or mortgage payments exceeding the standard deduction.

If I don't think those expenses exceed the standard donation, will there be a tax advantage of charity donation? Does this change if I live in a high tax state such as California?


2 Answers 2


Itemizing makes sense if the total of your itemized deductions exceeds the standard deduction. That total also includes the charitable contributions, property taxes, State sales or income taxes (that's where living in California may be of an importance), etc.

If your total of itemized deductions doesn't exceed the standard deduction, then itemizing doesn't make much sense (although you still may chose doing it, and in some cases you may be forced itemizing even if the standard deduction would be better for you).

If you take the standard deduction then charitable contributions have no tax benefit.

  • 1
    It will have no federal tax benefit. It may have state tax benefit. I know Colorado lets you benefit from donations on state income tax even if you took the standard deduction on your federal income taxes.
    – Alex B
    Jul 4, 2014 at 1:06

Correct. Lower income people, who use the standard deduction, do not get a tax benefit for contributing to charity. Under the 2018 GOP tax plan,charitable giving is expected to drop, and with a shift to higher income donors as well.

  • 3
    first sentence is concise answer to the question. second sentence is speculative.
    – BobE
    Jan 19, 2018 at 1:26

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