What little steps can you take to keep from getting carried away?
You’ve seen the footage on the news. You’ve been in the middle of it. You’ve stood in the vexing lines. You’ve circled for the elusive parking spots. Holiday shopping can be downright frenzied – and impulsive.
You don’t necessarily need to go to […]
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Help the causes you care about & help your finances in the process.
An opportunity for you to give & save. As 2013 ends, you may be considering making one or more charitable gifts. In most instances, they are tax-deductible with benefits for the donor as well as the recipient.
As you make any charitable gift, keep three things in mind. One, the organization must be a qualified charity. An Internal Revenue Service letter certifies this status. Some charities post such letters on their websites; others don’t, but will produce one for you if there is any question in your mind. You can check up on a charity yourself at irs.gov, using the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check. (For the record, the IRS considers churches, mosques, temples and others houses of worship de facto charities; they may not be on the Select Check list, but they are eligible to receive charitable gifts. If there is any question at all, simply ask.) 1,2
Two, remember that charitable contributions are only deductible if itemized on Form 1040, Schedule A (lines 16-19). They are deductible in the tax year that they are made. 1,2
Three, you will want a receipt or some form of bank record – a credit card receipt, a canceled check – plainly denoting the name of the charity and the date and amount of the donation. You don’t have to file these receipts with your 1040, but you should have them in case of an audit. The IRS now requires written evidence of cash donations to charities, regardless of amount. 1,2
How should you contribute? There are a few popular options.