The CARES Act and Charitable Giving in 2020

Maggie Finnegan
December 9, 2020

In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One aspect of this bill was to encourage more charitable giving in 2020 and to help nonprofit and other charitable organizations recover from the economic and systematic implications of the pandemic. To incentivize charitable giving by individuals in 2020, the CARES Act provides additional tax relief for donors on their 2020 tax return.  

Below are a few tips to maximize your tax-deductible gifts this year.  

If you claim the standard deduction:

You may claim up to $300 in above the line deductions for qualified charitable contributions.

This means that even if you do not itemize your tax return, you may still claim up to $300 in cash contributions to nonprofit and charitable organizations. This deduction is available to all taxpayers that take the standard deduction on their 2020 return. This deduction is currently only available for 2020 contributions. To qualify, the donations must be in cash, not stock or donations of clothing or other property, and must be made directly to a qualifying organization.  

Swords to Plowshares is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 100% of cash (credit card, check, and cash) donations made to Swords to Plowshares are tax-deductible. Our EIN is 94-2260626. Donations made to Swords to Plowshares must be post-marked or received by December 31, 2020 11:59 pm to be included in the 2020 tax year.  

If you itemize your deductions:

You may deduct qualified charitable contributions up to 100% of your AGI.

Under Section 2205 of the CARES Act, contribution limits for individuals that itemize their deductions have been increased from 60% to 100% AGI for the 2020 tax year. That means that individuals may deduct qualified charitable contributions up to 100% of their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) during 2020. Any contributions over the 100% AGI limit will be carried forward for five years. These changes apply to cash contributions (check, credit card, cash) made to qualifying charitable organizations. The 100% AGI limit does not apply to donations of stock.

If you are planning on leaving substantial gifts in your IRA, will or trust, there may be tax incentives for large charitable giving this tax year. Please consult your tax professional and/or financial advisor to determine your needs.

The tax information provided is general in nature. Rules and regulations regarding tax deductions may vary for individuals and joint filers. Please contact your financial advisor or tax expert for more information on how you can leverage your contributions this tax year.

Ways to Give:  

  1. Donate by check or credit card. Remember that this year you can claim $300 in charitable gifts, even if you don’t itemize your deductions!

    Please mail checks to:
    Swords to Plowshares  
    401 Van Ness Ave, Suite 313  
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Note: Gifts must be postmarked by 12/31 to be included in this year’s taxes.

    Donate to our Year-End Giving campaign
    Or text DECEMBER to 50155
  1. Become a Monthly Donor

    Join us on the Frontline with a monthly contribution. Recurring gifts are easy to set up and provide unrestricted funds throughout the year that serve veterans not otherwise covered by restrictive grants and government funding. Your monthly contribution ensures that no veteran is left behind at Swords to Plowshares.  

    Join the Frontlines: Visit the Monthly Giving donation form
  1. Donate through a Donor-Advised Fund

    When you donate to a 501(c)(3) public charity, you can take an income tax charitable deduction – reducing your taxable income and your tax bill.

    Learn more about donor-advised funds here.
  1. Contribute gifts of stock  

    Gifts of stock provide donors with income tax deduction and capital gains tax saving and provide direct financial support to recipient charitable organizations. Please contact us at or 415.252.4788 to ensure proper acknowledgement of your gift.

    Stock transfer information can be found here.
  1. Join our Veterans Legacy Circle

    Support Swords to Plowshares now and for years to come with a pledged gift in your will or trust. Planned gifts offer benefits to our donors – including tax deductions and recognition as a Legacy Donor - while providing a meaningful and lasting impact on the programs we provide and the veterans we serve. Please contact Maggie Finnegan, Manager of Donor Relations, at or call us at (415) 252-4788 for more information.