Can I deduct donations to my church?


Q. I have been giving monthly to my church and other organizations. Is there a minimum I need to donate within a calendar year to get a tax deduction from New Jersey?

— Giver

A. Charitable deductions aren’t as attractive as they used to be from a tax perspective.

Under the New Jersey gross income tax rules, charitable contributions such as those that you describe are not allowable deductions, said Neil Becourtney, a certified public accountant and tax partner with CohnReznick in Eatontown.

He said only a qualified conservation contribution involving the donation of a qualified real property interest is deductible.

“Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in late 2017, the only deductions permitted for New Jersey purposes were medical expenses exceeding 2 percent of gross income, alimony, and the first $10,000 of real estate taxes paid on a principal residence located in New Jersey,” he said. “Under the budget agreement reached in early July, the real estate tax deduction increased to a maximum of $15,000 effective for 2018.”

Donations to religious institutions, charities pursuing cures for diseases, local town organizations such as volunteer ambulance corps, college alumni funds and thrift shops such as Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army have never been deductible for New Jersey gross income tax purposes, Becourtney said.

Those rules remain today.

Email your questions to moc.p1594803844leHye1594803844noMJN1594803844@ksA1594803844.