Q. I carried over a charitable deduction from 2011. Do I have to use it on my 2012 return? N.W., Syracuse, N.Y.
A. Yes. The tax law imposes several limits on deductions for charitable donations. For instance, deductions for gifts of property are generally limited to 30% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). If such a limit applies, you can carry over the excess for up to five years, but you must use the carryover amount in each succeeding year. In other words, you can’t postpone the tax benefit, even if it will do you more good in a later tax year.
Tip: You must use the same percentage limits for the carryover originally used (e.g., donations subject to the 30% limit are still 30% contributions).