Tax Season Tips: Give Back, Get Back

- Mel Kaspin Blume

 
 

OH, april 15th…

…some of us love you, some of us dread you.  You’re such a polarizing date. 

Those who work for an employer might be looking forward to a bonus check in the mail, while those who are self-employed might be looking forward to (or avoiding) their accountant’s call back.

Some amazing news about tax time? Uncle Sam offers an incredible opportunity to those with a philanthropic heart. If you’ve volunteered or donated this past year, you might be able to enjoy a little break this tax season. We scoured a couple of sites to garner some valuable info that can help you during this possibly confusing, financially-focused time. 

Avid volunteer? You might find this advice helpful. To start, your chosen organization must have a tax-exempt status. The IRS website has an Exempt Organizations Database that can help you gather this info. Regarding your time volunteering, you cannot quantify it and deduct it as an expense. But, whatever you pay out of pocket during your volunteering (that isn’t reimbursed by the organization) can most likely be deducted -- like a required uniform. Most travel expenses can be deducted, as long as your #1 reason for the trek is tied to the charity. And lastly, every deduction must be itemized according to Schedule A. For the real-deal important breakdown of the details, The Balance Small Business dives deep into this topic.

 
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GENEROUS…

…with donations? There are 14 tips from Forbes that can come in handy during tax time. Here are a few highlights: Check on the status of the organization (same database as above), keep in mind that donations to individuals are not eligible, get and keep receipts, charitable contributions made through payroll deductions should be documented as well, and deduct the value of any incentives received by the charity. Visit Forbes for the full list -- you might want to bookmark it!

As you can see, giving back is beautiful and beneficial in more ways than one. Maybe April 15th could be a day to celebrate your big heart. Happy filing!