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You cannot arbitrarily choose to carry forward charitable deductions. They are deductible only in the year of contribution.

The carryover provision is for the situation when your contributions are greater than the allowed limitation (20%, 30% or 50% of AGI, depending on the type of contribution and the recipient organization).

Returning to the original question, this means that it is possible to carry forward a charitable contribution in a year where you owe no tax, but only if you itemized deductions in the year the contribution was made and you had contributions in excess of the appropriate limitation. The carryforward is not automatically available to you just because you didn't deduct the contribution earlier.

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