How to ensure your donations are tax-deductible - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

How to ensure your donations are tax-deductible

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Forty-two percent of people increase how much they donate during the holiday season, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. The last day to make a donation that counts as tax-deductible for this year is December 31.

For the donation to qualify as tax-deductible, it must be a donation to a valid charitable organization. If you're not sure the organization qualifies, you can always ask. They must be able to provide proof of their 501c3 standing. Or you can check on the IRS website to see if they are listed. (http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Select-Check)

Tax-deductible donations can include cash and property, but there are restrictions on values deducted for property contributions. As of 2007, cash donations no longer count as tax-deductible because there is not receipt or proof of the transaction. So if you make a donation with a check or credit card or of property, you need to keep a receipt or copy of the canceled check. This is your proof if the IRS questions your donation. Any donation of $250 or more needs to have a statement and description of the donation from the organization, along with a receipt. According to the National Tax Agency, in 2013, 60 percent of the issues the IRS had with tax-deductible donations came from people not being able to show proof of their donation.

In order to claim charitable deductions, you must itemize when you file your annual tax return. There are income limitations for charitable deductions depending on the type contribution. If you do not itemize and instead elect the Standard Deduction, then there would be no tax benefit for making charitable donations. If you are concerned filling out the tax return on your own, then you should seed out a licensed tax professional or CPA to help.

And if you really want to see the impact of your donation, try to keep it local. To make sure your donations are going to work in the manor intended, you can check here. (http://www.sos.sc.gov/Public_Charities/Scrooges_and_Angels)

Several charities with branches here in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee are still taking donations from you - find out which charities are helping those in need this holiday season here: http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/27601073/myrtle-beach-charities-ask-for-donations


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