We all know that giving is good for the soul, but with these tips for making charitable donations you can feel even better. When you’re doing good, if you can benefit too, why not? If it makes it more motivational, I’m all for it. If it makes people more inclined to give more, that’s a great thing. Check out these tips for making charitable donations and it might inspire you to give, or increase your contribution.
The first of the tips for making charitable donations is to simply remember how easy it is to do. 88% of households in the US give to charity every year. It’s easier than expected. You can walk up to a charity representative and shove a wad of cash into their hands. You can also do it through your employer. Try giving online by setting up a small direct debit. This makes it easier for figuring out your tax at the end of the year.
Another of the essential tips for making charitable donations is making the right choice. You can’t deduct anything you give. After all, who wouldn’t try to claim for that time you lent someone beer money? Your chosen charity must be qualified as deductible. They need a letter from the IRS. Most charities post this letter on their website if they accept online donations. And, just as important, choose a charity that means something to you. There should be emotion involved in your decision too!
Any recent guide to charity donations will include a point on cash donations. Since 2007, the IRS requires a receipt as proof you gave the money. You need the date, the amount, and the organization’s name on it. You don’t have to send this with your return, but you will require it as part of any audit you’re subjected to.
In 2011, Americans gave $298.3 billion to charitable organizations. Much of this money went through employers and companies. Employees making payments through companies must make sure their employer is keeping records of any payroll deductions. You have to retain a pay stub due to the Pension Protection Act of 2006. You’ll also need a pledge card with the name of the charity on it. This is one of the most important tips for making charitable donations because people often assume their employer takes care of all the work.
It’s not as simple as giving money and paying less tax. You have to factor in anything you get back for your money. Even if it’s a garbage key chain that will find its way to the back of your ‘drawer that holds everything,’ it still has to be deducted from the value of the donation. Most charities will tell you the value straight away, but if they don’t you need to ask them. Don’t try to conceal the fact you received anything back. Charities will always report this. All the IRS has to do is follow the paper chain and then you’ll find yourself in serious trouble with Uncle Sam. Obviously for this, we’re talking about regular contributions that add up to a tidy sum.
You can’t put a cash value on your time spent volunteering. Time is what charities need the most to continue to survive. Thankfully, you can get some of your out of pocket expenses back. In this guide to charity donations, we recommend claiming back transportation and any uniform and equipment costs via your tax return. You can’t claim back things like lunch from the IRS. This is seen as a personal choice, not a requirement of carrying out your work. Whatever you do attempt to claim, make sure you have the records to back every transaction up. Take note, if you’re reimbursed for anything like transportation, you can’t deduct it from your final tax bill.
If you want to know some really great tricks for donating to charity, check out the item donations. Item donations require a substantiated value attached to them. You need someone to evaluate them, in other words. Item values nearly always differ depending on whom you take them to. Take your item to a number of evaluators and use the top value. This top value is perfectly valid and perfectly legal, but it can lead to you being able to claim far more than you expected back.
The important thing to remember is that while these tips for donating to charity might seem to make it “cheaper” for you, you are still giving. There’s no way giving to charity should ever be seen as a way to reduce your taxes – because after all, if you need to save money, you probably wouldn’t be giving to charity in the first place. These tips can just make you feel a little bit more pleased with your philanthropic efforts. And like I said at the beginning, it’s great if it means you can increase your contribution, even by a few dollars. Do you give to charity? Which ones do you support?
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