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How Does Charitable Giving Affect My Taxes?

Tax Relief Charity Donation Written on Green Paper Note

As a donor to a charity you are frequently eligible for certain tax benefits that you may not realize. Giving to a valid nonprofit organization, such as a 501(c)(3), is always ‘tax deductible.’ However, the more important question is: Will I get any ‘tax benefit’ from my donation? A ‘tax benefit’ would be the amount of reduction on your total tax bill as a result of your charitable contribution. 

Giving to Qualified Organizations

In general, donations to religious organizations, nonprofit schools and hospitals, public parks and recreation facilities, 501(c)(3) charities, and war veterans’ groups are all deductible. Donations to civic leagues, political parties, social and sports cubs, labor unions, individuals and foreign organizations are not. To help guide you, the IRS provides an online search engine of Publication 78, which lists organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. Additionally, Publication 526 provides important charitable contributions that are helpful when preparing your tax return.

Recording Donations

In order to actually receive tax deductions you must keep an organized record of all your charitable donations. It’s important to save either the receipt, letter of recognition, credit card bill or check stub as proof of your giving. Whenever possible, try to donate with a check or credit card, this way you’ll have an exact record of your financial transactions. If you do use cash for donations of $250 or more you will need to have a letter from the organization stating the amount of your donation. Frequently, people forget that when donating goods to the Salvation Army or other charities. The items are also tax deductible. To get tax credit for these donations, you will need to fill out Form 8283, as well as keep a detailed record of the item donated, its value, the organization you donated to and the date. 

Filing Taxes

In addition to recording your donations you must use Schedule A (Form 1040) to be eligible for tax deductions. If you take the ‘standard deduction’ when you file, there is no tax benefit. Depending on your ‘marginal tax bracket’ you will receive a tax benefit. Typically you can expect that the amount you contribute times your marginal tax bracket will give you your tax benefit.  

The most important thing is to donate to reputable and impactful nonprofit organizations making an impact on its community. You can find organizations to donate to by checking nonprofit databases like GuideStar by Candid and Charity Navigator, by reading, watching and listening to your local news to learn about impactful organizations making a difference in your city and looking into those serving populations you care about. 

Thoughts in Closing

The work of nonprofits is forever important and impactful, and here at The TASC Group we’re proud to partner with organizations changing the world for the better. Learn more about our work with nonprofits via our case studies. Some specific examples of efforts can be found in our case studies for the Bronx Rising Initiative, Destination Tomorrow and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

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