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IRS Releases Data on Noncash Charitable Contributions

(July 24, 2006) For the first time, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has gathered information about noncash charitable contributions, including type of gifts, donor demographics and which organizations were most likely to receive noncash contributions.

The information was collected for Tax Year 2003 from Forms 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, the form used individual by taxpayers when the amount of deductions for all noncash contributions exceeds $500.

In 2003, nearly 6 million individual tax returns reported about 14.3 million noncash donations in the amount of $36.9 billion on Form 8283. The average donation amount for all returns was $6,193, and the average donation amount for each gift was $2,585.

Almost half of all noncash donations in 2003 was clothing (48.0 percent), or about 6.8 million separate gifts. The next largest category was household items with 28.0 percent of all donations, or about 4.0 million gifts. The average donation of clothing and household goods per return with these donations was $1,440 and $1,356, respectively.

However, donations of corporate stock accounted for the largest percentage of the total value of all noncash gifts in 2003: 37.2 percent, or about $13.7 billion. Second was gifts of real estate (16.0 percent) and clothing (15.8 percent), or about $5.9 billion and $5.8 billion, respectively. The average corporate stock donation was $79,279 per return.


Information on donee organizations was also gleaned from the data, although the data were collected only for Section A of Form 8283, for deductions of $5,000 or less and publicly traded securities. On Section A, $26.7 billion, or 72.2 percent of the value of all Form 8283 donations, were reported.

Of this amount, approximately a third, or $8.3 billion, was donated to foundations. About $6.7 billion was given to large organizations, such as the Red Cross, and $3.3 billion was donated to religious organizations.

Looking at the number of donations, a majority was given to large organizations (52.2 percent), followed by public and societal benefit groups (15.8 percent) and religious organizations (15.3 percent).

When measured by average donation per return, donations to donor-advised funds was the largest category, with an average donation of $54,770. Donor-advised funds, however, only represented 0.1 percent of the number of donations. Behind donor-advised funds were foundations, which received an average donation of $20,138.

Donors by Income Class, Age

Donors with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $100,000 and $200,000 made the most noncash donations, both in number and value, contributing $8.2 billion on 1.7 million tax returns. The average donation amount per return was $4,774.

The second largest donating group was taxpayers with AGI of $10 million or more. Despite being the smallest group of donors, and having the fewest number of noncash donations, these taxpayers contributed $7.1 billion, with an average donation of $2.8 million per return. 

Examining donors by age, the data revealed that in general, the older the taxpayer, the large the value of the noncash gift. The amount claimed and the average value of donations per return both increased with age.

However, the types of donations varied with age. Taxpayers age 45-55 gave more food, clothing, household items and vehicles, while those age 65 and older tended to give more stocks and other securities, real estate and easements and arts and collectibles.

About the Data

The data, released in the Spring 2006 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin, are available on the IRS website.

The Statistics of Income Bulletin is issued quarterly—in March, June, September and December—by the Statistics of Income Division of the IRS. The report provides the earliest published annual financial statistics obtained from the various types of tax and information returns filed, as well as information from periodic or special analytical studies of particular interest to students of the U.S. tax system, tax policymakers and tax administrators. It also includes personal income and tax data by state and historical data for selected types of taxpayers, in addition to data on tax collections and refunds and on other tax-related items.

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