It’s the beginning of tax season. Since I’m still in school, I typically have to get my returns done early so that I can include them as part of financial aid applications. This year I used H&R Block’s TaxCut software so that I could get the returns done quickly and smoothly.
One of the options that the software gives you when you are done is the option to compare your return with the national average for your income bracket. Here are some interesting results of that comparison, drawn from the 2005 tax data (the latest for which they had numbers):
Average salary/wages for my bracket: $65,453
Charitable contributions: $2,835
That means that in that income bracket the average deduction for charitable donations was 4.35%.
For 2005, individual private giving to charitable causes reached almost $200 billion (PDF), and made up the vast majority of the total $260 billion in giving reported to the IRS. “Religion” has historically been the single highest sector for allocation, topping $93 billion in 2005.
Also in 2005, Barna reported some findings on charitable giving trends, noting that the average for American household giving was 3% and that 9% “born again” Christian adults tithed in 2004.