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Managing the Taxes on your Charitable Donations

September 6th

tax deductionAs the summer comes to a close, and we begin to approach the fall season, many individuals might be considering making charitable donations. While this is very honorable, it can greatly complicate your tax returns. It is therefore important to keep a number of rules in mind when making donations in preparation for the 2011 tax season, especially if you might want to pursue a charitable tax deduction.


1. Ensure that the organization qualifies for a charitable tax deduction. Contributions made to qualifying organizations are considered to be tax deductible. When considering making a donation, check first with the organization to determine if it qualifies for this tax deduction. If you still have concerns, a list of qualifying nonprofit organizations is available from the IRS, entitled Publication 78, Cumulative list of Organizations.

2. Itemize deductions. Charitable donations are deductible only if they are itemized using a Form 1040, Schedule A.

3. What Items are Deductible? Cash contributions, as well as the fair market value of property given to a qualified organization, can usually be deducted from your taxes. However, special rules do apply to several kinds of property donations, so be sure to consult with a tax lawyer or with www.irs.gov before filing your returns.

4. Keep a Good Record. Be sure to keep comprehensive records of any contribution you make, regardless of the amount. In particular, for cash contributions, you must keep record of the donation such as a bank or credit card statement, payroll deduction record, or a written statement from the charity.



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