Can I earmark a donation for a specific purpose?

Asked 10 months ago - New York, NY

I recently heard that when making a donation to a tax-exempt organization, in order the get a tax deduction, the donor cannot earmark the funds for a particular purpose. I don’t believe this is true as I have heard of it as a customary practice among donors. Is it true?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Jayson Lutzky


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Yes you can and it is still tax deductible.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate... more
  2. Daniel Todd Friedson

    Contributor Level 6


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It depends on what the earmark benefits. If it is for something general, but related to the operation of the charitable mission, then yes. If it is limited to benefit the donor, or the donor's friends or family, then no. Please consult an attorney before accepting. Also, when in doubt call the IRS.

    No legal advice or research upon which one can rely is being provided here. The author assumes all inquiries on... more
  3. May Lynn Harris

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Donors are allowed to "restrict" their gifts to a charity for a specific purpose. The charity - if run well - will have a gift acceptance policy that will give them guidance on whether or not to accept your restricted gift and an appropriate accounting system to distinguish between unrestricted and restricted donations.

    As to tax deductibility, if the charity accepts your gift, it should be tax deductible. As a previous attorney posted, there are exceptions for self-dealing transactions, but in general any cash donation made to a 501(c)(3) public charity is deductible on the donors' personal income taxes.

    The information that has been provided on this website, including information contained in any link or... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

23,854 answers this week

2,740 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

23,854 answers this week

2,740 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary