Charitable Contributions May Lower Tax Bill

Did you make charitable contributions to a qualified organization in 2011?? Doing so may help lower your tax bill. Here are some tips to help ensure your contributions pay off on your tax return.      

To claim a tax deduction:

    • you must give to a qualified organization (no deductions for contributions made to specific individuals, political organizations or candidates)
    • you must file Form 1040 and itemize the deduction on Schedule A
    • If you receive a benefit in connection with your contribution (dinner, tickets to a game or other goods or services) you can only deduct the amount that exceeds the amount of the benefit you received.  For contributions over $75 the orgnaization should let you know what the deductible amount is.
    • Regardless of the amount, to deduct a contribution you must maintain:
      1. a bank record,
      2. payroll deduction records, or
      3. a written communication from the organization containing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and amount of the contribution.
      4. If the donation is made by a text message, a telephone bill will meet the recordkeeping requirement as long as it shows the name of the receiving organization, the date of the contribution and the amount given.

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