Maximize Tax Savings with Charitable Giving
Although most taxpayers are generally aware that they can save money during tax season through charitable giving, few are aware of just how many charity-related deduction options are available to taxpayers. For example, taxpayers who donate money or goods to a tax-exempt charity before December 31 can deduct the amount donated on this year’s federal income tax return. For more information on how to maximize your tax savings through charitable giving, please contact an experienced tax attorney who is well-versed in both state and federal tax law.
Taxpayers who are considering donating should be aware that only donations made to eligible organizations are actually tax deductible. The easiest way to ensure that a charity qualifies is to check the IRS website, which has a searchable online database that lists the most popular eligible charities. Otherwise, all churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and government agencies are considered eligible even if they are not included in the official database.
The Importance of Itemization
Charitable deductions are not available to all taxpayers. Individuals who choose the standard deduction, for example, cannot deduct charitable donations on their returns. Only those taxpayers who use Form 1040 Schedule A to and itemize their contributions can claim a deduction for charitable giving.
Evidence of Monetary Donations
Taxpayers who want a deduction for making a monetary donation to a charity must have access to a bank record or a written statement from the charity proving that they did indeed provide the amount of money on the date that they claim. Although this includes cash, monetary donations also include a variety of other forms of payment, including donations via check, credit card, payroll deduction, or electronic transfer. Specifically, taxpayers who donate via payroll deductions should be sure to retain a W-2 wage statement or pay stub that shows the total amount withheld, as well as a pledge card that lists the name of the charity.
Non-monetary donations, such as clothing or household items can also be deducted, although the amount is usually limited to each item’s fair market value. Furthermore, only donated property that is in good or better condition will qualify as tax deductible. However, if a clothing or household item is worth more than $500, it doesn’t have to meet this standard, but only if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal indicating the item’s worth with his or her tax return. Donors must also request a written statement from the charity that describes the items donated and acknowledges the receipt of gifts worth $250 or more.
Taxpayers who donate money or property to charity, but get something in exchange may be required to reduce their deduction. This applies to benefits, such as merchandise, tickets, meals, or services. In these situations, the donor must attach an acknowledgment that states whether the charity provided any goods in exchange for the donation and if so, how much those services or goods were worth.
Call a Dedicated Tax Attorney for Help with Your Tax Return
If you donated to charity during the year, you may qualify for significant tax deductions. To learn more about these, and other ways to maximize your tax savings, please call 386-490-9949 to speak with experienced Florida tax attorney Ronald Cutler, P.A. today.