Federal government employees and members of the armed services can make donations to qualified charitable organizations. The Combined Federal Campaign makes automatic deductions from your salary each pay period and sends your gift to your chosen organization or cause. Since all participating recipients are 501(c)(3) organizations, you can also deduct your contributions.
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 and make annual pledges.
The Federal Code of Regulations that govern the CFC state 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
To itemize charitable tax deductions, you need to complete and attach Schedule A to your form 1040. Although the IRS usually limits your annual total charitable deductions to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income listed on form 1040, they treat 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, 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.
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.