Can Contributions to Cemeteries Be Counted as a Tax Deduction?

When you itemize to claim your charitable contributions, you must use Form 1040.

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Every little bit helps when it comes to your income tax return, so if you've made contributions to a cemetery during the year, you might be able to increase your tax refund. Some cemeteries qualify as charities for the charitable donations deduction, so you may add the donation to your charitable donation deduction.

Cemetary Must Qualify

Not all cemeteries qualify as charities for the purpose of an income tax deduction. For your contribution to be deductible, the cemetery must be a nonprofit cemetery or corporation. In addition, you can't deduct the contribution if it is for the upkeep of a specific cemetery plot or mausoleum crypt. If you are unsure as to whether the cemetery qualifies as a charitable organization, you can use the online search for charities on the IRS website.

Receipts to Keep

You need to get a receipt for your donation to the cemetery so that you can take the deduction on your tax return. For cash contributions, which includes donations made by check or credit card, you can use a canceled check or credit card statement only if you gave less than $250. If you donated more than $250, you need a receipt from the cemetery that shows the amount you contributed, the date of the contribution and whether you received anything in return for your contribution.

Donation Deduction Limits

Nonprofit cemeteries are considered a 30 percent limit organization, which means you can't deduct contributions to a cemetery that exceed 30 percent of your adjusted gross income. For example, if your adjusted gross income is $40,000 and you contribute $15,000, you can only deduct $12,000. If your contributions in a year exceed the limits, you can carry over the excess into up to five future tax years.

Must Itemize

You must itemize your deductions to claim any of your charitable donations, including donations to cemeteries. When you itemize, you replace your standard deduction with the sum of your itemized deductions. Accordingly, you should only claim your donations to cemeteries if your total itemized deductions exceeds your standard deduction for the year.

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About the Author

Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."

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