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Nonprofit Law/Pass through donations


We have donors who donated through our nonprofit, distributed to another nonprofit. We sent those donations off. We aren't sure if our nonprofit should write the tax receipt or if the final receiving nonprofit should write it. We sent a list of donors to the final receiving nonprofit. Thank you.

It appears from what you wrote that your organization was legally obligated, like an agent, to pass on the full amounts to the other nonprofit.  Therefore, your organization would legally be able to give the acknowledgment of donation to the donors only if the other nonprofit is qualified itself to receive deductible donations.

The U.S. Supreme Court stated in Davis v . United States that "Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 permits a taxpayer to claim a charitable contribution deduction only if the contribution is made 'to or for the use of' a qualified organization"

They state that, that under IRC 170, whether a contribution is made "to" the individual or "to or
for the use of" the charitable organization depends on whether the organization has full control of funds and discretion as to their use; whether the contributors intent in making the payment was to benefit the charitable organization itself and not the individual recipient; and whether the organization has a legally enforceable right to the funds.

Harvey Mechanic
Attorney at Law

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

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