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Tax deductions and charitable donations, part 2

In our December 14 post, we noted some tips from the IRS on how to properly claim tax deductions for charitable gifts. As the year draws to a close, and people make their last gifts to charity for 2012, there are a few more such tips worth noting.

In this post, let's look more closely at the guidelines for gifts of clothing and household items, as well as donations of money.

First of all, when making a donation of clothing or household items, consider their condition. The clothing or other items should normally be in at least good condition, if not better.

If you are claiming a tax deduction of more than $500, there may be an exception to this requirement, however. This involves submitting a qualified appraisal of the donated item with your tax return.

Household items can come in several types besides furniture and furnishings. They also include electronics, appliances and even linens.

With monetary donations, make sure to have a bank record or a written statement from the charity. It should contain the basic information: the charity's name, the amount given, and the date of the contribution. This applies regardless of the dollar amount of the donation.

Of course, donations of money can be made in a variety of forms: not just cash or check, but also through credit card transactions and payroll deductions. They could also be done through electronic funds transfers.

You may have heard that there is a requirement for taxpayers to obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for deductible donations of $250 or more. This remains true. But it is possible to use one statement to meet both the acknowledgement-by-the-charity requirement and the requirement to show the donation itself was made.

Source: "IRS Offers Tips for Year-End Giving," IRS.gov, 12-19-12

Our firm handles situations similar to those discussed in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our tax litigation page.

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