Posted by : Daniel Stoica in (Blog, Federal Income Tax, Federal Tax Return, Federal Taxes, Income Tax Forms, Income Taxes, Tax Deductions, Tax Forms, Tax Help, Tax Return, Tax Tips) On: November 29th, 2011
Tagged Under : charities, charity, form 1040, form 1098-c, IRS, Schedule A, tax deductions, tax-deductible, taxpayers
Many people give to charities toward the end of the calendar year because they are in the giving spirit AND because they realize that they don’t have much more time to take advantage of tax deductions.
The following are some reminders about year-end giving.
- Make sure that the organization is qualified. Only donations to qualified organizations are tax-deductible. IRS Publication 78, available online and at many public libraries, lists most organizations that are qualified to receive deductible contributions. The searchable online version can be found at IRS.gov under Search for Charities. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations, even if they are not listed in Publication 78.
- If at all possible, get a receipt from the charity when you are donating property such as clothing and household items. Ideally, the receipt should include the name of the charity, date of the contribution, and a reasonably-detailed description of the donated property. If a donation is left at a charity’s unattended drop site, keep a written record of the donation that includes this information, as well as the fair market value of the property at the time of the donation and the method used to determine that value. Additional rules apply for a contribution of $250 or more.
- Charitable contributions are deductible in the year they are made. If you charge a donation to a credit card before the end of the year, but the credit card bill isn’t paid until the following year, you still get to claim the deduction for the year is which the charge was made. Also, checks count for the year they were written as long as they are mailed during that year and clear shortly thereafter.
- Only individual taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A may claim deductions for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to individuals who choose the standard deduction, including anyone who files a short form (Form 1040A or 1040EZ). A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. Use the 2009 Form 1040 Schedule A to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard deduction.
- The deduction for a motor vehicle, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500. Form 1098-C, or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached to the donor’s tax return.
- If the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly-completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return.
If you have any questions about charitable donations and your taxes, contact a tax professional.