Resources: IRS Requirements for Tax Deductions on Charitable Donations

The Internal Revenue Service has several requirements that relate to donor tax deductions for cash and non-cash gifts to charities. Tax laws governing charitable gifts are complex; the University encourages donors to seek professional advice on tax issues.

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The IRS requires a receipt to substantiate most charitable contribution deductions. The donor should retain the receipt in his/her records; it need not be filed with the tax return. It is Stanford's policy to issue receipts for all gifts (see Administrative Guide Policy 4.2.2: Acknowledgement of Gifts).

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Deductible Value

Gifts to Stanford University are usually deductible at their full fair market value as of the date of the gift for both state and federal tax purposes. One important exception to this rule is that for gifts of tangible personal property that are intended to be resold by the University, the donor is entitled to an income tax deduction that is the lesser of the item's fair market value or the donor's cost basis. See IRS Form 8283: Noncash Charitable Contributions.

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Non-Cash Donations

Gifts Valued at Over $500 — If a donors wishes to claim an income tax deduction of $500 or more in any year for gifts to charity which are not cash, then the donor must file IRS Form 8283 (Non-cash Charitable Contributions) with his or her federal income tax return.

Gifts Valued at Over $5,000 — In addition, if a donor wishes to claim charitable income tax deductions totaling $5,000 or more in any tax year for gifts that are not cash or publicly traded securities, then the donor needs to obtain qualified appraisals of the property donated and Stanford must acknowledge receipt by signing the IRS Form 8283, which the donor then files with his or her federal income taxes. It is the donor's responsibility to notify the University that they will require Stanford's acknowledgment on Form 8283. Form 8283 is processed through the Property Management Office (PMO) for gifts of capital equipment, or the Office of Development for all other non-cash gifts, and signed by the Accounting Officer in the Controller's Office.

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Gifts of Securities

Securities Not Publicly Traded — A qualified appraisal and Stanford's acknowledgment of receipt on IRS Form 8283 are required for gifts of securities that are not publicly traded if their total value is more than $10,000.

Publicly Traded Securities — Additional documentation is not required for gifts of publicly traded securities (regardless of their value).

Persons wishing to make a gift of securites to Stanford should be directed to contact Stanford Management Company.

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Gifts of Property or Equipment

(When Stanford Sells, Transfers or Exchanges Donated Property)

Under certain circumstances described below, if Stanford sells, transfers, exchanges or otherwise disposes of donated property within three years of the date of receipt of the property, Stanford must file Form 8282 (Donee Information Return) with the IRS. A department that becomes aware of such a disposition should immediately notify the Property Management Office (PMO) (for capital equipment) or the Tax Compliance Director in the Controller's Office (for all other property). The Department disposing of the property or equipment must supply PMO or the Controller's office with the name of the donor, their address and tax ID or Social Security number, and any amount received upon disposition. If the transfer is made to a successor donee, e.g. another nonprofit entity, information concerning that donee must be included as well. The Tax Compliance Director is responsible for preparation of the Form 8282 and its transmittal to the IRS and to the donor. This filing requirement applies only to the following items of donated property or equipment:

  • Property for which Stanford has completed the donee acknowledgment section of the donor's IRS Form 8283.
  • Property for which Stanford has not completed the donee acknowledgment section of the donor's IRS Form 8283 but which the University later becomes aware should have been so substantiated.
  • Property that is considered a restricted donation under Section 170 (e)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. This consists of donated equipment where Stanford has committed 80 percent of its use for research, experimentation, or research training conducted in the United States, in the physical or biological sciences.
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For more information about deductibility of gifts, IRS Forms 8282 and 8283, and other tax questions, contact a staff attorney in the Office of Planned Giving, Office of Development, 326 Galvez, 650-725-4358.

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Disclaimer:  Stanford University does not offer personal tax advice. Nothing on this web site shall be construed as the offering of tax advice. Stanford recommends seeking professional tax counsel whenever necessary.