Tax Tips for Donations

  • By K.M. Pittman
  • March 29, 2011

I Made a Difference in the World Today

As you prepare to enter your charitable contributions on your schedule A, are you thinking “I thought I gave more than this?” Well, you probably did!

Consider the following before you file:

  • A charity doesn’t have to issue a detailed receipt unless you gave $250 in a single contribution. So don’t wait around for a letter in the mail if you didn’t give that much in one pop. Search through your checks for forgotten donations, and check emails for electronic receipts for any online contributions.
  • If you texted donations (for Haiti, perhaps?), you can go to the mGive Foundation website for an official donation receipt.
  • Non-cash contributions can also be deducted; e.g. the old couch you brought to Goodwill or the canned corn you gave to the Thanksgiving food drive!
  • While you can’t write off the value of donating your time, the costs of gas and oil directly related to getting to and from your charitable work are deductible. If tracking all of that sounds like too much, you can simply use 14 cents per mile.

So search your brain, email, checkbook, and calendar for some of those missing contributions. Keep records, which are critical in the case of an audit. And take credit where credit is due (emotionally and off your tax bill)!

Give back. Do you deduct your donations?

K.M. Pittman is a CPA based in Hampton Roads, VA.

photo source: MelindaHawkin's shop on etsy

Tagged in: Charity, Credit & Debt