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Makin' Money

The giving spirit and taxes

Chris Farrell Nov 22, 2010

Here are some year end charitable giving tips from Robert Schmansky, a certified financial planer in Franklin, MI. You can read about them in more detail here.

Keep written records. For cash donations, make sure to keep your own payment records, and get that receipt or letter from the charity with the date, amount, charity name, a value of any items you may have received for your donation, and, if the charity is a religious organization, a note that only an ‘intangible’ religious benefit may have been received by the donor. For donations of ‘stuff,’ receipts are still necessary, but photographs should also be used to support a deduction to an even greater level.

Volunteering. Keep track of any unreimbursed expenses incurred while volunteering for a qualified charity, including any mileage you may have. One area however that isn’t deductible however is the value of your time or services. But, make sure to log your other expenses and keep adequate records on where you spent money for charitable volunteer work.

Supercharge your gifting. One method to take the tax-bite out of your portfolio while being charitable is to gift appreciated investments to charity. As long as you have owned the investment for at least one year, and it has increased in value, you may deduct the full market value, without having to pay tax on the appreciation.

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