The holiday season may be over, but tax season is only just beginning.
While you get your paperwork together to start filing your taxes, you need to make sure you’ve got all your deductions in place, including your charitable donations.
The Internal Revenue Service makes it easy to see if any donations you made in 2016 are eligible for deductions. You can tell if the donation is eligible by checking the IRS website, but some are easy to check without the database.
“Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations even if they are not listed in this database,” the IRS says.
Make sure to complete the 1040 Schedule A form to claim deductions for charitable donations since they aren’t allowed through standard deduction forms, like the 1040A or 1040EZ.
“Most tax software will alert taxpayers about the tax savings available if their itemized deductions, such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, exceed the standard deduction,” the IRS says.
When you’re preparing your paperwork for donations, the organization you donated to should have provided you with a written statement to prove the donation existed. You can also use a bank statement to show proof of your donation.
If you didn’t donate money but have donated possessions, those count toward your charitable contributions as well. From household items like furniture, electronics, and appliances to clothing and linens, donating to charitable organizations goes far beyond money. But it’s important you have proof of the donation.
“Donors must get a written acknowledgement from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more,” the IRS website says. “It must include, among other things, a description of the items contributed.”
If you donated anything and received something in return, like meals, services, or goods, your donation contribution deduction will be reduced.
See what else the IRS says about charitable tax deductions.