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How to Make Your 2015 Donations Count

TaxAlerts Tax Article

December 2015 | Written by: Charla Woods

The much-anticipated 2015 holiday season has finally arrived.

To some of us, it is a most magical time of year – one in which we celebrate soothing ideals such as love, peace, and joy. To others, it is nothing more than a stress-fest, fraught with long lines and hectic parties, all fueled by commercialism. But, no matter what your opinion of the season might be, one thing is for sure: December is the most charitable month out of the 12 months of the year. One recent study by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University reports that nonprofits receive almost 25% of their annual donations during the holidays alone. Another survey by GuideStar shows that nonprofits receive even more during the holidays – a whopping 50% of their entire year’s donations.

For those who fall into the category of “charitable giver,” here are three reminders from the IRS on how to make your 2015 charitable donations count, come April 2016.

  1. Verify that the nonprofit to which you are donating is qualified to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. If you’re not sure, the IRS website has an online search tool called “EO Select Check” that will help you determine whether or not the organization you care about qualifies for tax deduction purposes.
  2. Keep a detailed record of all donations you wish to deduct. This includes logs of what you donated to which organizations, copies of bank records, canceled checks, and credit card statements, as well as receipts from the nonprofit. (For more specific details about charitable donation record-keeping, please visit IRS.gov.)
  3. Remember that charitable gifts can still qualify for a deduction up until the very last day of the year! Even if you wait until December 31st to get your donations in, you can still deduct them on your 2016 tax return.

This is only a brief summary of the IRS’s numerous requirements in regard to charitable giving. If you have any questions or concerns – or would simply like more comprehensive information regarding this topic – please visit IRS.gov.