This seems like it would be easily Google-able, but because I am located in Canada, all results are along the lines of "how to claim a US donation on your canadian taxes".

My question is, if someone located in the US donates to a Canadian charity and is issued a receipt, can they claim that credit on their US taxes? Thanks :)

  • Some Canadian charities have a US branch that accept donations (in US dollars) on behalf of the Canadian charity. This is similar to UNICEF which is not a US charity, and US people who want to support UNICEF send their money to US Fund for UNICEF, and not to UNICEF directly (unless of course they wish to forego the charitable deduction on their US tax returns). Mar 21, 2018 at 20:07
  • 1
    To clarify @DilipSarwate emphasis of "deduction", a credit is when the amount is subtracted from your taxes due. A deduction is when the amount is subtracted from your taxable income. So a $100 credit would reduce your taxes by $100 (or increase your refund by $100), while a $100 deduction will decrease your taxes by $100*tax rate. Mar 21, 2018 at 20:40
  • Mostly dupe money.stackexchange.com/questions/92051/… Mar 21, 2018 at 21:59
  • Disagree @dave_thompson_085 . That doesn't answer this question at all.
    – James
    May 28, 2019 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


This page on the IRS web site states that contributions to any organization on the searchable Exempt Organizations list is eligible to some level of deductions.

Note that, apart from the usual IRS deduction limits,

A deduction for a contribution to a Canadian organization is not allowed if the contributor reports no taxable income from Canadian sources on the United States income tax return

The way I interpret that is, a US person can only claim donations to a Canadian charity if 1) the charity is on the exempt list and 2) the person had income from Canadian sources equal or exceeding the donated amount.

  • How do you infer that the charity must be on the list to be deductible? It seems like that webpage says that some of the organizations on the list are "deductible only because of tax treaty", not that the list is exhaustive. (By the way, the list seems to have very few Canadian entries.) The IRS description of the tax treaty itself doesn't mention any particular list requirement. Can you elaborate?
    – Lack
    Dec 30, 2020 at 8:39

From this IRS publication

Contributions made by a U.S. citizen or resident to a Canadian registered charity are treated as charitable contributions for purposes of IRC 170(c). See Article XXI, paragraph 5 and Notice 99-47. However, the charitable tax deduction is subject to two restrictions. First, a U.S. donor may use the deduction only against its Canadian source income. Second, the deduction is subject to the percentage limitations described in IRC 170(b). The percentage limitations permit a U.S. donor that made charitable contributions to a Canadian registered charity classified as a private foundation to deduct up to 30 percent of the donor’s income derived from Canada. Any excess may be carried over and deducted in subsequent taxable years. This percentage amount is raised to 50 percent if the Canadian registered charity is classified as a non-private foundation under IRC 509(a)(1) or IRC 509(a)(2). (The percentage limitation does not apply where the Canadian registered charity is a Canadian college or university at which the donor, or a member of the donor’s family, is or was enrolled (see Article XXI, paragraph 5)).


There is one exception to the requirement that contributions to a Canadian registered charity are deductible only to the extent that the U.S. taxpayer has Canadian-source income. That exception (per page 4 of IRS Pub 597, October 2015 edition) is "contributions to a college or university at which you or a member of your family is or was enrolled". That interpretation is supported by information here.

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