Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Quick and Easy Guide on Tax for Charitable Donations

Taxes (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
If you make charitable donations to approved organizations you may be able to lower your tax bills. However, there is a number of IRS set steps you must follow to qualify for charitable donation tax reductions. All you have to do if use the guidance provided below and you will be on the right track to help your chosen cause and benefit from tax savings in the process. 

To gain a legitimate tax reduction, the charity you donate to must be a qualified organization that meets all of the IRS’ requirements. For a start, you cannot claim tax reductions for donations given to political candidates, political organizations or individuals. To get a full rundown of what constitutes a qualified organization, read IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, which gives a clear description of the regulations. 

Be aware that should you receive any kind of benefit from your charitable contribution, be it merchandise or services, then you can only deduct the tax amount that is in excess of the benefit’s fair market value. Fair market value is the agree price at which property could be exchanged between a willing buyer and seller, with both parties fully aware of the facts relating to the property. For more information, read IRS Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property. 

To deduct a charitable contribution from your tax, you are required to file Form 1040, making sure that you carefully itemize all deductions on the part of Form 1040 entitled Schedule A. If you are donating stock or a different form of non-cash property, it will be valued at the fair market value. For the specific rules that apply to vehicle donations, read IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. 

No matter how much your contribution comes to, to deduct it you have in your possession a bank record, payroll deduction records or a written document of communication from a representative of the charity that states the name of the organization, the amount of the contribution and the date that it was made. If you donate via a text message, you can use your telephone bill as proof, but it must state the name of the organization, the amount and the date given. 

If your total tax deduction for non-cash contributions exceeds $500 for the year, you must fill out and attach IRS Form 8283, Non-Cash Charitable Contributions, to your tax return. If you donate an item or collection of items with a value in excess of $5,000 you will also be required to complete Section B of Form 8283, which usually requires the services of a qualified appraiser. 
For further information, simply visit the IRS website, or phone them on 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676). 

As a recap, here are the documents you should read to learn more about tax on charitable contributions: 

  • Refer to the instructions included on Form 8283, Non Cash Charitable Contributions 
  • Read Publication 526, Charitable Contributions for clear details on specific rules 
  • To get helpful information on determining value, read Publication 561, Determining the Value of Property 

Author Bio 

This article was contributed to 50 Plus Finance by George Papas. You can read more of his work on a number of different sites including Jeffrey Epstein among others. 

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