December 31 is fast approaching, which means that there are just a few days left to make a charitable contribution and get a tax deduction for 2010. To help you navigate the complex tax system and make the most out of your donation, here are 4 tips from Philanthropedia:
1. Don’t forget the deadline – December 31! If you want to get a tax deduction for 2010, you need to make your donation by the end of December. It is best to not leave that for the last minute, because websites often become overloaded and slower as many donors sign on to make a donation.
2. Keep all of your receipts in one place. If you donated over $5,000, you can get a bigger tax deduction by itemizing your donations. Using Philanthropedia’s convenient website, you can keep all of your receipts in one place and access them any time you need them.
3. Don’t undervalue your charitable donations. In addition to cash, check, credit card, and payroll contributions, giving away a car, property, clothes, or other items can qualify as a donation as well. If you made non-cash donations that you need appraised, you can either use the “thrift shop value” – an estimate of the item’s value based on what it would sell for in a thrift shop – or get in touch with tax professionals who can help you appraise your contribution. It is important to remember that you can’t deduct the value of your time or services spent on charitable work – but you can deduct related mileage or vehicle expenses. For more information on non-cash donations, check out H&R Block’s excellent advice.
4. Finally and most importantly: maximize the impact of your donation! What is the point of giving money away if it will go to waste? Choose one of Philanthropedia’s recommend charities to make sure that your donation is well spent and supporting high-impact nonprofits in the causes you care about.