Deductible Charitable Contributions Can Be Made Through An Agent


Most taxpayers making charitable contributions will transfer their own funds or property to the charitable recipient. What happens if another person or entity makes the actual transfer to the charitable recipient?

Prior case law will allow a charitable deduction to a taxpayer, if the funding of the charitable contribution is made by an agent of the taxpayer acting for the taxpayer.  Skripak, 84 TC 285 (1985) ; Weitz, TC Memo. 1989-99.

A recent Tax Court Memorandum decision expands on these principles. The key take-always from the decision are:

a. For the taxpayer to be able to deduct the contributions, the taxpayer will need to show that he or she bears the economic burden of the contributions.

b. A written agency agreement establishing the agency relationship is not required. However, there must be some evidence of the agent’s asset to act on the taxpayer’s behalf.

c. Agency will be easier to establish when the agent has property of the taxpayer and uses that property to make the contribution.

d. However, and contrary to the desire of the IRS, if the agent uses its own funds with the understanding that the taxpayer will reimburse the agent, the taxpayer will be treated as bearing the economic burden of the contributions. An actual failure to reimburse, however, will open the door to denial of the deduction.

Zavadil, TC Memo 2013-222

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Charles (Chuck) Rubin, Gutter Chaves Josepher Rubin Forman Fleisher P.A. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Gutter Chaves Josepher Rubin Forman Fleisher P.A. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.