General Instructions

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General Instructions

Generally, any part of the gross income of an estate or trust (other than a simple trust) that, under the terms of the will or governing instrument, is paid (or treated as paid) during the tax year for a charitable purpose specified in section 170(c) is allowed as a deduction to the estate or trust. It is not necessary that the charitable organization be created or organized in the United States.

A pooled income fund or a section 4947(a)(1) nonexempt charitable trust treated as a private foundation must attach a separate sheet to Form 1041 instead of using Schedule A of Form 1041 to figure the charitable deduction.

Additional return to be filed by trusts. Trusts, other than split-interest trusts or nonexempt charitable trusts, that claim a charitable deduction also file Form 1041-A unless the trust is required to distribute currently to the beneficiaries all the income for the year determined under section 643(b) and related regulations.

Pooled income funds and charitable lead trusts also file Form 5227. See Form 5227 for information about any exceptions.

Election to treat contributions as paid in the prior tax year. The fiduciary of an estate or trust may elect to treat as paid during the tax year any amount of gross income received during that tax year or any prior tax year that was paid in the next tax year for a charitable purpose.

For example, if a calendar year estate or trust makes a qualified charitable contribution on February 7, 2013, from income earned in 2012 or prior, then the fiduciary can elect to treat the contribution as paid in 2012.

To make the election, the fiduciary must file a statement with Form 1041 for the tax year in which the contribution is treated as paid. This statement must include:

  1. The name and address of the fiduciary;

  2. The name of the estate or trust;

  3. An indication that the fiduciary is making an election under section 642(c)(1) for contributions treated as paid during such tax year;

  4. The name and address of each organization to which any such contribution is paid; and

  5. The amount of each contribution and date of actual payment or, if applicable, the total amount of contributions paid to each organization during the next tax year, to be treated as paid in the prior tax year.

The election must be filed by the due date (including extensions) for Form 1041 for the next tax year. If the original return was filed on time, you may make the election on an amended return filed no later than 6 months after the due date of the return (excluding extensions). Write “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2” at the top of the amended return and file it at the same address you used for your original return.

For more information about the charitable deduction, see section 642(c) and related regulations.