CARES Act: New Benefits for Donors

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the federal stimulus measures include benefits to donors making charitable contributions in 2020.  Please read on for specific new information related to giving this year. 


Above-the-Line Charitable Deduction

For 2020: A $300 above-the-line charitable tax deduction for donors who do not itemize.

  • This new provision of the CARES Act allows taxpayers who do not itemize to claim a deduction of up to $300 for qualified charitable contributions.
  • A qualified charitable contribution must be made in cash and cannot be made to certain charities, including donor advised funds, supporting organizations, and organizations, such as many non-operating private foundations, that are ordinarily subject to a 30% limitation on charitable deductions.  Your gift to Santa Barbara Foundation is eligible!


Increased Percentage Limitations for Charitable Contributions

For 2020:  Donors who do itemize benefit from increased percentage limitations for qualified charitable contributions as follows:

  • Donors may elect to deduct up to 100% of their 2020 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI); an increase from 60%.
  • Corporations can deduct up to 25% of taxable income; an increase from 10%.
  • A qualified contribution is a cash gift made during calendar year 2020. This provision of the CARES Act excludes gifts to donor advised funds and supporting organizations. The 30% limitation applicable to private non-operating foundations was not changed.
  • Lastly, the 15% limitation for contributions of food would be increased to 25% for any charitable contributions of food during 2020.


For questions about making a gift to the Santa Barbara Foundation, contact Brittany Napier, Director of Development at (805) 880-9357.