Did you know that you could save yourself some cash by giving to your favorite charities? Say what? Yes, seriously, by giving you can save. What’s the saying? “Good things come to those who give.” Well, maybe the saying is really about those who wait but in the case of your taxes this saying is absolutely true. The great thing is your donation doesn’t have to be cash. Charitable giving includes sponsorship of local charity events, in-kind contributions such as property and even your car. Let me tell you how it works. Now, before you go giving your money to everybody, you have to make sure that your favorite charities and causes are qualified charitable organizations by the IRS. That just means that the IRS recognizes them as legitimate organization that uses your money for the common good. Here’s the list. Now, if a local organization isn’t on this list it doesn’t mean that they aren’t making the world a better place; it just means that your gift may not count as a deduction on your taxes. You can always book an appointment with me to discuss further so you can save money and contribute to your favorite organizations at the same time. You’ll want to do your research to find out who and what you are funding. Why is this important? Well, its your hard earned money so you wouldn’t just throw it down the drain would you? Like that time you bought those shoes you never wore. I’m not judging but that’s what it would be like if you gave to an organization that was involved with lobbying. For example, organizations can quickly disqualify themselves from being listed as a qualified charitable organization by urging supporters, volunteers and the public to vote for a specific candidate in exchange for funding. We’re finishing up an election year so you definitely want to pull out your magnifying glass before giving. Plus, the last thing you want to do is give your money to an organization that does not align with your beliefs without you even knowing.
Time is money but not in the case of claiming it on your taxes. If you volunteer for an organization you cannot use your time as a form of charitable giving. Don’t be sad about that though. You should be volunteering out of the kindness of your heart plus there are many other benefits to volunteering that are not monetary such as networking, skill development and just being a better person on earth. Whatever you do, make sure to gather your receipts for each donation you make throughout the year. When its time to file your taxes I want you to come into the office and say in your best Love and Hip Hop character voice, “I have RECEIPTS!” Keep a small folder in a safe place with all of your records or even scan them to create an electronic file. Doesn’t matter which organization strategy you use as long as you got it all together. In some cases this may mean you have to request receipts or documentation from the organization that received your donation. Side note, anybody else hate when the cashier automatically assumes you don’t want your receipt? You can also keep copies of statements and cancelled checks as proof of giving. If you want to deduct your contribution for 2016 then you have to give that gift by December 31st, 2016. You might be all about a New Year, new you on January 1st but that gift you give because you’re trying to get your life right in the new year won’t qualify as charitable giving for your 2016 taxes. You’ll have to wait until next year. So, get on the ball and figure out which organizations you’ll want to bless within the next two weeks!
So, with that said you have two weeks to get on my calendar to discuss further and I don’t want to hear, “no,” for an answer. Why? Because, each tax story is different depending on your income, tax bracket, amount of charitable giving, etc. You can search the Internet all day but you and I can work together to make sure you are going in the right direction with so little time left in the year. Use the quick and easy schedule to book in minutes. Giving can be beneficial in more ways than one and now you know that your taxes can be one of those ways. So the next time you’re not sure what to do with your old car or before you throw away those old clothes in the closet, think about how much you could be earning just by donating those items. See, you’re already doing these simple things throughout the year so take the extra step to document and claim those charitable gifts on your taxes!