Are donations from Amazon Smile tax deductible?

Smile.Amazon: Consumer advocates advise against donations via Amazon

Hans-Christian Dirscherl

Anyone who purchases via smile.amazon.de automatically donates a small part of the purchase price to a non-profit organization. Consumer advocates advise against its use.

EnlargeSmile.Amazon: Consumer advocates advise against donations via Amazon

“Shop and do good”. Amazon uses this slogan to advertise smile.amazon.de, which was launched in November 2016. But the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center advises against donating via the Amazon program without a previous price comparison. For one simple reason: "There are many products cheaper from other retailers than from Amazon". This is what the consumer advocates want to have found out through random smile.amazon.de purchases with 25 bargains: “With a total purchase amount of around 8025 euros, the Amazon donation via Smile was just 40.12 euros. In contrast, the competition offered all test items for around 6541 euros. So the purchase was a proud 1484 euros cheaper. And the donation could have been almost 37 times higher. ”And further:“ A smart TV, bought for 1200 euros via Smile, brought six euros, for example for the Arche or the German Red Cross. Alternatively, the device was available from the competition for 200 euros less. For a massage set it was 20 to 1000 cents. "

The consumer advocates recommend comparing prices on the Internet, for example with the PC-WELT price comparison and thus buying at the lowest price in each case and donating part of the amount saved. This has the additional advantage that you can deduct the donations for tax purposes. You can only use the Amazon donation program for products that are actually available at the lowest price on smile.amazon.de.

This is how donating via smile.amazon.de works

The principle behind smile.amazon.de: You shop on smile.amazon.de and Amazon gives the social organization you have selected 0.5 percent of the purchase price. The donation consists of the price paid for the item, minus discounts and excluding shipping, handling, gift wrapping fees, taxes and service fees.

You cannot (!) Claim this donation for tax purposes because the donation amount comes from Amazon. Yes, you donate without burdening the donation financially.

The prerequisite is that you buy a product that qualifies for smile.amazon.de. The price of this smile.amazon.de product should be identical to the price on amazon.de.

According to Amazon, there are several thousand organizations (recognized by the tax authorities as non-profit) and several million products to choose from. You can recognize this by the label "Qualified for smile.amazon.de" on the product detail pages. You can use the same account on Amazon.de and smile.amazon.de. Your shopping cart, wish list, wedding or baby gift list, and other account settings are the same, according to Amazon.

On your first visit to smile.amazon.de, you must select an organization that will be credited 0.5 percent of the value of your qualifying purchases before you start shopping. You can change the organization of your choice at any time. From this moment on, all smile.amazon.de purchases count for the new organization.