Giving Tuesday and Tax Deductions

Brad Garland, CPA

November 29, 2016

Today is Giving Tuesday! The third serving of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Christmas season spending days, this one focuses on supporting those charitable causes that rely on donoations. Now that the door-busting sales and online deals have happened, it's a time to focus on giving. Santas with bells collect for the Salvation Army and food kitchens ask for your time in helping the needy. By giving, others receive. But by giving, can you also receive something yourself come tax time?

How can charitable contributions benefit your taxes? First, contributions to qualified §501(c)(3) organizations are itemizable on your 1040. Just be sure to get a receipt for your records. This doesn't have to be turned in, but you'll want should the IRS request substantiation.

Noncash receipts can require a bit more paperwork. Donating old clothing and various household items? Make an itemized list of what you're contributing, and get a receipt from the charity. Also, items must be of fair quality. You can't get a deduction for donating unusable, worn out junk.

If you volunteer your time, note that the hours are not deductible. But, if along with your service, you have miles relating to a charitable cause, those can be deducted at a rate of 14 cents/mile.

Even if you miss out on Giving Tuesday, you have 364 other days of the year with which to support the numerous charities that deserve your support. Just be sure to keep track of it properly for tax purposes!


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