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How to make your charitable donation count!

With Give NOLA Day just around the corner, many people are preparing their finances to give to more than 700 charitable organizations. An event initiated by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, it is one day online giving event. The event is scheduled to take place on May 7 and is a great way to give back.

Whether you are participating in GIVENOLA Day or plan to give this year, here are a few things you need to know about giving and your finances.

#1 Understand the new itemization rules Recently, with the changes in the new tax law, some people may not have a need to itemize. The standard deduction has increased for married persons to $24,000 and single individuals to $12,000. As a result, those who may have itemized in the past may no longer do so. Therefore, some donations may not be deductible for tax purposes.

#2 Know what counts and what doesn’t When it comes to giving, donors should know what counts and what doesn’t. If you are a skilled professional, donating your time to an organization (while it is a good thing), it is not deductible. Also, amounts given to individuals or homeless people (while it is still a good thing), are not deductible for tax time.

#3 Determine the status of your organization If you are planning to give outside GIVENOLA day, determine the state of the organization you plan to give. There is an excellent tool on the IRS website that provides the status of the organization so that you can know whether your gift is made to a qualified organization.

#4 Save your receipts Keep in mind, you want to save your records and receipts. This not only for cash donations but also as you give noncash contributions. Any donation of $250 or more, must have a written acknowledgment from the organization itself. Also, if you provide a noncash donation of $500 or more, you are required to file an additional form (Form 8283) along with your taxes.

Kemberley Washington is a CPA and owner of Washington CPA Services LLC.  She is the author of many great books and great devotions!

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