In 2014, I made a large cash contribution to my school. (As cash, this contribution is subject to the 50% rule on deductions, not the 30% rule.) At my expected AGI, and my expected level of other charitable contributions, it will take 3 to 4 years for me to "use up" the charitable deduction to my school. My question is Must I go the 50% limit on charitable deductions each year, or can I drag out the deduction without losing any of it by deducting less than 50% of my AGI (as charitable deductions) in one or two years. Note, I am not asking if this makes economic sense, only if I am allowed to do so without losing any of the deduction. Thank you.

  • Tax questions require you to specify your location. I added United States tag based on terminology in your question. Please correct it if I'm wrong.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Jul 12, 2015 at 22:32
  • To littleadv: Thanks for the answer. It was what I expected, darn it, but I see the logic. BrenBarn, thanks for the clarifying tag. This should be a comment, but I don't have the rep to comment. I also don't see how to accept the answer, but I do.
    – ab2
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


No, you cannot drag the deduction out over more years than you could have based on your limits.

The only way your current year deduction can be deducted in the next year is only if you are not allowed to deduct (because of the 50% limit). If you deduct less than you were allowed to deduct, you cannot take the remainder to the next year.

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