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While so-called “donation” sites like GoFundMe are great to help raise money for causes, chances are pretty good your “donation” isn’t really a donation.  Keep this in mind when you file taxes and expect to take your kindness as a write off.

The definition of donation is:
something that is given to a charity, especially a sum of money.

What is a charity or charitable organization?  According to The Free Dictionary:
A charity is a group designed to benefit society or a specific group of people. Its purpose may be educational, humanitarian,or religious. A charity goes beyond giving relief to the indigent, extending to the promotion of happiness and the support of many worthy causes.

The law favors charities because they promote goodwill and lessen the government’s burdens. They are therefore ordinarily exempt from paying income or property taxes.

Now, how does that differ from the legal definition of the Internal Revenue Service?
If your goal is a legitimate tax deduction, then you must be giving to a qualified organization. Also, you cannot deduct contributions made to specific individuals, political organizations and candidates.

So, while your “donation” to personally help those in need is well-intentioned, it may not be able to be deducted.