Writers and Charitable Contributions

I know what you’re thinking.  People should be giving you money to support your writing endeavors.   However, for those that can give to charity, I want to clarify how that is handled when you are self-employed in the publishing arena.

First, you need to know that donations of your time and effort to any charity are not deductible.  Next, if you are an unincorporated business, using Schedule C at the end of the year as a sole proprietor, you cannot claim a deduction on Schedule C for any cash or property contributed to a charity (even if you wrote the check out of your business account).  A donation to a charity out of your business checking account functions as a nondeductible owner’s draw.

However, you can take the donations from your business account and your personal accounts (including donations via credit card) and combine them and take the entire amount on Schedule A – Itemized Deductions on the charitable contributions line.  Charitable donations from your business account are not deductible business expenses but they are included as part of your overall charitable giving on Schedule A.

When your business donates to a worthy cause, with cash or property (for example, a used computer), it not only helps the community (local, national, or international) but, if donated in the business name, also gives your business added visibility and good public relations.


One thought on “Writers and Charitable Contributions

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere Gary! Good post.
    As a CPA and tax preparer, I have a few small business clients that mix in their charitable donations in with their business receipts. They’ll say things like “my business made these donations.” I try to explain that these donations are to be included with other donations on the personal portions of their tax return.(Sch A Itemized deductions) and that they are not business deductions. (just like you explained)
    I don’t think they really get it because the next year the same thing happens…I think in their mind the money came from their business, so the donation is mixed in with other business expenses. Then I have to spend time unraveling it all and trying to remember to include these donations on their itemized deductions.
    So writers, save your tax preparers sanity and gather ALL your donations whether personal or from your business into one pile. That will help us get you the largest tax deduction you are allowed. 🙂
    Carol Topp, CPA

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