Want to make your charitable tax deduction count?

Understanding qualified organizations and tax-deductible donations

They say it’s better to give than receive, but sometimes, with the right charity, it can go both ways. You may be asking yourself, “Can I claim donations on my taxes?” The answer is yes!

There are a few details you’ll need to take into account, but with some tips on finding the right nonprofit organization, understanding charitable contribution limits and claiming charitable donations on taxes, you can see bigger savings on your tax bill and can feel even better about the good you’re doing.

Organizations that qualify for tax-deductible donations

When it comes to charitable tax deductions, it’s not as simple as finding any nonprofit and writing them a check. In order to claim a donation on your taxes, you’ll likely need to find an organization with a 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. Organizations with this status are commonly referred to as charitable organizations And there are plenty of rules about how they must be organized and operated.1

So how can you find out an organization’s status? Before you open your wallet, open your browser. Many organizations list their 501(c)(3) status right on their website. If you don’t want to contact the organization directly, try using this handy IRS search tool. Once you find a reputable charity that’s verified by the IRS, you can feel safe donating your money to a good cause. And you might even save money on your taxes.

Organizations that don’t qualify for charity tax deductions

Not all nonprofits are created equal. When it comes to charitable-donation tax deductions, there are so many tax codes and exceptions, it might make your head spin. But it might help to remember that gifts to individuals aren’t deductible—only donations to qualified organizations, like those in the 501(c)(3) category. And generally, if you receive something in return for a donation, it limits how much you can claim on a deduction.2

How to claim a charity tax deduction

You've done the research, and you've given back to an organization that you feel good about. But the story's not over. While that charity is putting your money to good use, you can use that deduction to save money on your taxes. There are a few boxes you need to check off to make that happen.

First, make sure you donate by December 31 of the year you’ll be filing taxes for and want to take the charitable donation deduction.3

Second, get it in writing. Make sure any documents you receive have the organization’s name, the date and the amount of your donation.2 Donations of $250 or more may require extra documentation, according to the IRS.4

There are a lot of variables when it comes to filing taxes and claiming deductions. But some of the forms you might need include Schedule A (Form 1040) for itemized deduction and Form 8283 for noncash contributions. You can find more information about filing federal taxes from the IRS.

How much you’ll really save on your taxes

There are some misconceptions about just how much you’ll save on your taxes through a charity-donation tax deduction. Many people believe that you’ll save $1 on your taxes for every $1 you donate, but that’s just not the case. To get a more accurate idea of how much you’ll save, talk to a tax professional or check out this nifty giving calculator. It helps you determine your estimated tax savings based on your donation amount and tax rate.

Over time, those savings on tax-deductible donations can really stack up. Plus, you can put away the money you save on taxes for future charitable donations or for something special for your family.

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