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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Donations to the US Government


Would donations to a US Government entity be considered a charitable donation with the same benefits as donations to a 501(c)3?

Details:  The US Air Force local installation has a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program, a Nonappropriated Funds Instrumentality which is a government office.
An individual wishes to donate equipment, sports items, consumables, and other physical assests needed to support the Government program.  The program provides sports and recreation services to US Air Force military members.

Would these donations have the same benefit as if the donations were made to a 501(c)3 recognized charity?


Thanks for your question.

It probably is deductible similar to a contribution to a 501(c)(3) organization.

The IRS states that contributions made to "the United States or any state, the District of Columbia, a U.S. possession (including Puerto Rico), a political subdivision of a state or U.S. possession, or an Indian tribal government or any of its subdivisions that perform substantial government functions. (Your contribution to this type of organization is deductible only if it is to be used solely for public purposes.)" are deductible.

However, they do not define "public purposes."  Generally speaking, that term is used in this context to mean a contribution that does not benefit a specific individual.  Although this is a grey area, I think you are on solid ground in taking a deduction.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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