Federal government employees and members of the armed services can make donations to qualified charitable organizations. The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) makes automatic deductions from your salary each pay period and sends your gift to your chosen organization or cause within the CFC donation list. And since all participating recipients are 501(c)(3) organizations, you will enjoy a combined federal campaign tax deduction.
CFC Enrollment Process
Making CFC donations is a simple process. The campaign groups eligible charities into more than 30 zones and the participating charities for each local or overseas zone can differ, depending on your work location.
You can contact your CFC coordinator to find a list of eligible charities. The Office of Personnel Management also provides a web portal that employees can visit to choose charities on the CFC donation list and make annual pledges.
The Federal Code of Regulations that governs the CFC states that most employees must have at least a one-year appointment to enroll in the CFC. Regular military personnel must have an assignment of more than three months, National Guard members and temporary federal employees can take part if their intermittent work is regular.
Your CFC donations are spread out over an entire calendar year. The number of pay periods for your job assignment determines how many payments you’ll make each year toward your donation pledge.
Minimum CFC Donations
The CFC sets your minimum deduction per pay period and per organization at $1. After you find your charities and set a contribution amount, you complete a pledge form for each recipient. The CFC requires that you renew each pledge again every year.
Donations Are Pretax Contributions
Donations to CFC affect your net income every pay period. Unlike retirement contributions, your contributions are deducted from your pre-tax income. Your tax benefit from CFC donations will only be available when you file taxes if your donations meet certain thresholds and you itemize your tax deductions.
CFC Deductions Records
The CFC provides an annual statement of your total campaign deductions on the pay stub that you receive for the final pay period every year. If you authorize deductions for more than one charitable recipient, download a copy of your pledge form from the CFC Pledge Portal for your records.
Itemized CFC Deductions
Are CFC donations tax-deductible? Yes, they are.
To itemize charitable CFC tax deductions, you need to complete and attach Schedule A to your form 1040. Alternatively, the IRS allows you to deduct as much as $600 if you make cash deductions and don’t itemize. In that case, you'd write the amount on line 12b of your Form 1040 and not need to use Schedule A.
You can deduct anywhere from 20 to 60 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) if you itemize deductions to qualifying charities. And the IRS treats each payroll deduction as a separate gift to your charity.
If the total deducted for your CFC pledge recipient per pay period doesn’t exceed $250 and you itemize, enter your annual total on Schedule A, Line 11. Keep your pledge form and final pay stub with your copy of your annual tax return.
CFC payroll deductions that exceed $250 per pledge recipient each pay period require documentation from the eligible charity. You must get and retain a statement from the recipient that shows the total you contributed through the CFC.
The organization’s statement must also declare whether you received a benefit, such as meals or event tickets from any of your donated amounts. If applicable, your charity must supply an estimated value of this benefit in its statement.
- OPM.Gov: Welcome to the official source for information about the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)
- 501c3.Org: What is a 501(c)(3)?
- OPM.Gov: Combined Federal Campaign Donating Through CFC
- ECFR.Gov: Subpart G - Payroll Withholding
- IRS.Gov: 2020 Instructions for Schedule A
- IRS.Gov: Expanded tax benefits help individuals and businesses give to charity during 2021; deductions up to $600 available for cash donations by non-itemizers
Carol Luther has published feature articles in print magazines, ghostwritten blogs, and produced digital content since 2007. She has published personal finance and small business articles for the Houston Chronicle, Mahalo, the Nest, USA Today, Wahm, and Zacks. Carol has designed, implemented and managed multi-year, multimillion-dollar domestic and international projects services for higher education, nonprofits, and small to medium businesses for more than 20 years.