Would the International Organization of Historic Postal Stamp Collectors, if it existed, qualify for a tax-free charitable contribution on your return? How about disaster relief organizations? In the final two weeks of the tax year, you might want to know – and fast.
Last week we promised to pass along some guidance from the Internal Revenue Service about donations to charities and other tax-exempt organizations. Charitable giving is one of the few steps you can take to reduce taxes just before year-end, which now is less than two weeks away.
Taxpayers can write a check or send money electronically to a non-profit or other charity of their choice. Donating property also is allowed. Just make sure that any donations are made before the close of the year, which, for most individual taxpayers, is 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31.
Is your favorite charity or non-profit eligible for a tax exemption on your return? Here’s a short list of the types of organizations that qualify:
- Federal, state and local governments in the United States
- Community funds created and operated exclusively for religious, educational, scientific and other benevolent purposes, including prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
- Churches, synagogues, other religions organizations.
- Veterans organizations
- Fraternal societies, but only if the contribution is used exclusively for charitable purposes.
- Non-profit cemeteries, but not the individual lots within them.
Then, we can drill down further – even to specific, local charities on your list, with your computer or smartphone. The IRS provides a Tax Exempt Organization Search online and has announced that taxpayers can rely on it for their returns. Go to: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search and click through at the bottom of the page to the search tool.
We’re just skimming the surface here, of course. For a deeper dive into donations, check IRS Publication 526, “Charitable Contribution.” It is available at the IRS Web Site, www.irs.gov. Of course, Eric Buechler, proprietor of EricJohn Ltd., also can show you how to navigate the tax rules for tax-deductible contributions to charities and other non-profit groups.