Are Big Corporations Using Your Donations To Evade Tax? What We Found Might Surprise You

Around the internet, you may have been hearing about the “checkout charity tax write-off” and how you should never donate to charities through big corporations at the checkout. But, what is this rumor all about, how true is it, and what damage do these donations really do?


The Checkout Charity Tax Write Off


Listen I may have filmed this without watching it over and messed up the english, but the sentiment stands. Abolish corporations #acab #cashier

♬ son original – Callum French <3

When I was scrolling through TikTok one day, I saw the video above on my For You Page. The video shows a TikTok user acting as a cashier and a customer at Target. In the video, he explains that donating through a corporation (like when you’re asked to round up at the checkout) will allow that corporation to get a tax break because of your donation. As soon as I saw this video, I was shocked and stopped donating at checkouts altogether. Similar videos, memes, and content have been spewed around the internet since about how donating through checkout is letting big corporations dodge taxes. But is this even true?

How True Are These Rumours?

They’re not. There is no hidden agenda behind corporations taking donations at checkout. Corporations can only use donations for a tax write-off if they have donated themselves, like when they donate a percentage of their profits to a charity. Checkout donations are simply funneled through the corporation to the charity. They actually do a lot of good for charities. “In 2018, the 79 largest point-of-sale charity checkout campaigns raised over $486 million for the nonprofit sector in the United States, out of $427.1 billion donated to charities in total.” 

But, checkout donations made by customers can be used on their OWN tax deductions, which is often overlooked.

Should I Donate At The Checkout?

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A post shared by St. Jude (@stjude)

As mentioned before, if you often donate at the checkout, you should be collecting the receipts and keeping track of how much you have donated. This is because your donations can be itemized on your own tax return. While it is OK to donate at the checkout, it may be more beneficial for you to donate to charities on your own accord, so you’re not keeping track of every .50 cents you donate at Target or Walmart. It also gives you the choice of what charities you are donating to because, at the checkout, the charity is already chosen.

Where To Donate

Here are a few charities and organizations that you can put your money straight to in order to help out AND get your tax deduction seamlessly.

St Jude

American Humane

National Federation Of The Blind

Breast Cancer Research Foundation


Equal Justice Initiative

Conservation Fund

To search for more charities and organizations to give to, visit Charity Watch today.


Here’s a reminder to not immediately believe everything you see on the internet! What rumors would you like us to research next?

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