DEFINITION of 'Qualified Charitable Organization'

A nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status according to the U.S. Treasury. Qualified charitable organizations must be operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes, or for the prevention of cruelty to animals or children, or the development of amateur sports.

Nonprofit veterans' organizations, fraternal lodge groups, cemetery and burial companies and certain legal corporations can also qualify. Even federal, state and local governments can be considered qualified charitable organizations if money that is donated to them is earmarked for charitable causes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Qualified Charitable Organization'

Only donations that are made to a qualified charitable organization are tax-deductible. Organizations that do not qualify for this status are considered for-profit and are taxed accordingly.

For example, political contributions are not tax-deductible, because political parties are not charitable institutions. On the other hand, contributions to an organization dedicated to building hospitals in third-world countries would likely be a charitable organization, and contributions would be tax deductible.

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