"I give at the milk aisle"
December 9, 2018 4:39 PM   Subscribe

When you donate to a charity at the check-out line at the grocery store or other shop, does the company get a tax deduction?

Sometimes my local grocery store has an option to add an extra 50 cents or a dollar onto my bill to go to a local charity. If I were to donate directly to the charity, I could claim a tax deduction (in the US - and yes, I know things have changed a bit with the new tax law, but stick with me here), but if I donate at the cash register of my grocery store, does the store pool all that money and then get a tax deduction themselves?

For some reason, I always assumed they did this, but I actually don't know why I thought that.
posted by Toddles to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I do not believe they can do this. The registers tally it as a pass-through, not income. So they are not paying taxes on it. And they do not get the tax-write off either.

In fact, I’m pretty sure you can still claim that money as a tax write-off yourself if you keep the receipt and can show it was for the non-profit and not groceries.

Now... how quickly it gets passed through to the charity is another question.
posted by greermahoney at 4:44 PM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm positive I heard this in an episode of Adam Ruins Everything (that they do get the deduction) but I now can't find it.
posted by bbqturtle at 5:01 PM on December 9, 2018

This has made me very curious because I worked for Whole Foods for years and I still have friends there. I will ask them and follow up with you if I get a good answer.

A lot of what I see online is speculation, or what a specific store has stated. So I saw that Publix and Safeway both stated they don’t take any deductions. But I really want to know if legally they even could. This article here from a few years ago seemed to at least be researched and says you should be able to claim your deductions yourself.
posted by greermahoney at 5:39 PM on December 9, 2018

Ok, quick response from Whole Foods friend. The company does not take the deduction. They will provide you, if asked, with a receipt you can use for your own taxes. I wish I had a more universal answer for you.
posted by greermahoney at 6:16 PM on December 9, 2018

In order to get a deduction, they would have to claim the donated funds as income. This would not be a benefit and would cost them money. They could report the money as income, then claim the matching expense of passing the money to the nonprofit org. This probably has weird implications. It makes the most sense for them to act as an agent handling the funds, keep decent records and stay in good shape with tax authorities.

The cheesy owners of that corer market that is skeevy in other ways? Sure, that person might write the check to DoGoodOrg and take a deduction. I had a small business, had a donation jar, and even though I am Very Cheap Thrifty Frugal, did not do this.
posted by theora55 at 8:44 PM on December 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

« Older Get this word outta my head!   |   How much noise am I in for, and should I rethink... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.