WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind some key tax provisions that have taken effect in recent years, especially those affecting donations of clothing and household items and monetary donations.
To be deductible, clothing and household items donated to charity generally must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.
To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, bank or credit union statements, and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.
Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.
These requirements for the deduction of monetary donations do not change the long-standing requirement that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required information may meet both requirements.
To help taxpayers plan their holiday-season and year-end giving, the IRS offers the following additional reminders:
IRS.gov has Additional information on charitable giving including:
TaxACT Free Federal and Deluxe include the guidance and tax forms to help maximize your deduction for charitable contributions.
After starting your TaxACT return, you can navigate to the section of the federal interview that covers charitable contributions by clicking on the "Federal Q&A" tab, selecting the "Itemized or Standard Deductions" link and then "Charitable contributions".
January 1 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (New Year's Day) - Details
January 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during December, report them to your employer - Details
January 12 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of December 2015.
January 14 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of December 2015.
January 15 — Individuals
Make a payment of your estimated tax for 2015 if you did not pay your income tax for the year through withholding (or did not pay in enough tax that way). Use Form 1040-ES - Details
January 15 — Farmers & fishermen
Pay your estimated tax for 2015 using Form 1040-ES - Details
January 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in December 2015
January 15 — Nonpayroll withholding.
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in December 2015.
January 18 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr./Inauguration Day) - Details
January 27 — Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of December 2015.
January 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of January.