- EVERY ORGANIZATION’S FAVORITE GIFT TO RECEIVE IS MONEY. MAKE A FINANCIAL CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION – YOU CAN USE YOUR CREDIT CARD. FOR A CURRENT YEAR DEDUCTION, MAKE SURE YOU SUBMIT THE GIFT IN TIME TO HAVE IT PROCESSED IN THE CURRENT YEAR. MAIL CHECKS WELL BEFORE YEAR END BECAUSE THE CHARITY WILL PROCESS YOUR CONTRIBUTION ON THE DATE RECEIVED, RATHER THAN THE POST MARK DATE IN MOST CASES. Remember: charitable organizations are REQUIRED to give you a receipt if you make a contribution of $250 or more at one time—because canceled checks for larger gifts are NOT proof of donation. If you give $25 per gift 10 times a year, no receipt is required. Your canceled check will be accepted as proof of donation.
To give on line, simply go to your favorite charity’s web site – almost all allow you to make a contribution on line with a credit card. Otherwise, try www.guidestar.com OR www.networkforgood.com. (two examples, there are many others – just do your homework to make sure they are legit).
GREAT IDEA!!! SELECT A FEW CHARITIES THAT INSPIRE YOU OR FURTHER YOUR ETHICAL AGENDA AND SET UP A MONTHLY GFIT FROM YOUR CREDIT CARD OR BANK ACCOUNT. THAT WAY, THE CHARITY RECEIVES YOUR GIFT EVERY MONTH AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO REMEMBER TO WRITE THE CHECK. CHARITIES RELY ON YOUR………RELIABILITY.
NO MONEY TO GIVE?? TRY THESE:
ONLINE SEARCH ENGINE THAT GIVES: For a nondeductible, but ongoing gift to your favorite charity and FREE TO YOU, look at www.goodsearch.com. Goodsearch will give money to your charity EVERY TIME you do an on line search through Goodsearch. It works! Try it!
FUN IDEA!!!! CLICK FOR CHARITY! No deduction – but all it costs is a few minutes of time and IT WORKS. You’ve heard about “making money on line by taking surveys” etc etc. It’s true! You can earn, well, pennies a day. However, a lot of charities have jumped on the band wagon, understanding that if thousands/millions of people click daily, it can add up to real money. ON OUR BLOG, there is a button for CLEAN DRINKING WATER – if you click on it, you can do a few activities (like watch proposed commercials and vote on the best one, or take a brief survey, or write in your favorite brand of something etc) and you earn points for charities that help bring clean drinking water to communities world wide. http://www.wateronline.com/article.mvc/Blogs-Unite-With-Procter-Gamble-To-Donate-0001?VNETCOOKIE=NO to read about raising money/delivering water.
Something else I do daily (and it takes 18 seconds—but only because I read the daily story, otherwise, it would take 8 seconds—I counted) is to click on The Animal Rescue Site which sells stuff but also raises money for shelters. My daily click “buys” .6 bowls of food for animal shelters. http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=3&ThirdPartyClicks=ERA_122510_ARS_Html
Look at your favorite charities on line and you may find clicks for projects that they are sponsoring. I just found one for World Vision (related to my water clicks – see the article above).
- CLEAN OUT CLOSETS, GARAGE, KITCHEN AND MAKE A CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION OF NONCASH GOODS TO GOODWILL OR ARC OR DISABLED VETERANS ETC ETC.
To assure that your contribution is deductible – DOCUMENT it. Take photos, make a list of items along with their original purchase price and their current thrift store value. BE REALISTIC. You can use www.itsdeductible.com (or sites for the Salvation Army or Goodwill) as a guide, but remember that the IRS does NOT sanction web site’s valuations. You are now required to have receipts to prove the purchase price on major gifted items. Just be aware of that. Get a signed and dated receipt if your gift exceeds $250 per trip. Be sure to give us your lists to use in preparation of your tax return. If you donate more than $500 per year, you must file a form in your tax return that discloses your donations. Read that: the IRS is interested.
- GIVE AT THE GROCERY STORE/PET STORE CHECK OUT.
Grocery stores and the big box pet stores collect money regularly for a variety of charities throughout the year. It is EASY to simply ask the checker to add a few dollars to your grocery or pet store purchases AND the gift shows up right on the receipt. Keep the receipt with your tax papers so you don’t forget about it and to support your tax deduction!! Get in the habit. $5 a week adds up to $260 a year. And it is painless–relatively.
- CONSIDER GIVING AWAY THAT OLD CLUNKER CAR (OR BOAT OR TRAILER OR OTHER BIG THING).
If you give a car to charity before the end of the year, you could get a big deduction. Here are the rules, briefly. If the charity sells the car at auction, your deduction is the amount the car sold for and the charity will supply you (and the IRS) with a 1099. If the charity will use the car in its mission or gift the car to a needy person, you will get a fair market value deduction and the charity will give you a letter indicating that it will indeed make use of the car itself. Big difference. Shop around to find a charity that can use your car. If it isn’t running, how about a school for mechanics?? 🙂
- VOLUNTEER MILEAGE IS DEDUCTIBLE!
If you drive your car to do volunteer work…your mileage is deductible. Pull together your log showing date, reason, and miles. Don’t overlook this deduction! If you drive thousands of miles, have the organization give you a letter thanking you for driving A LOT (have them use your specific amount from your well maintained log). For 2010 and 2011, the deduction is 14 cents per mile – which doesn’t sound like much, but if you drive 1,000 miles (a mere 20 miles a week) driving seniors (your mother does not count–sorry) to doctor appointments or to coach a little league team (for example), you will have a $140 deduction.
- GIVE TO LOCAL CHARITIES WITH A FEW BUCKS FROM YOUR STATE TAX REFUND – PAINLESS.
On your state tax return, you have the opportunity to designate gifts to local charities using your tax refund (or by paying a few dollars extra with your state tax payment). In Colorado, there are usually 15 choices, ranging from Nongame Wildlife to Special Olympics to Veterans Cemetery Fund—and new this year (and near and dear to my heart) The Unwanted Horse Fund – how sad is that? We will post the list on the web site for Colorado but most states offer some similar opportunities. It is easy to make the gift – just let us know that you’d like to give a few dollars. We suggest $1 for each fund, to total $15 per year. If every tax return did that, exempt organizations in the state would raise several million dollars every year. Your gift is deductible on the next year’s tax return.
- SPONSOR A FRIEND (OR YOURSELF) AT A CHARITABLE EVENT.
You can deduct the pledge that you actually pay in the year you pay it to an organization on behalf of your friend’s or your effort – ie a 5K run for breast cancer research or the Denver Dumb Friends Furry Scurry.
- JOIN AN ORGANIZATION.
Become a member at the zoo or the art museum or botanical garden, get free admission for a year, AND a charitable contribution deduction! WIN/WIN/WIN. With a membership, there is a benefit to you, so the whole membership fee is probably not deductible. The organization will give you a letter telling you what is and what is not eligible for a deduction.
- CASH IS NOT DEDUCTIBLE–generally. The money you slip into the Salvation Army kettle or the plate at church is NOT deductible—unless you have a receipt. It is perfectly OK to put a check into the kettle or to put your $20 bill into an envelope with your name and address on it to give cash at church. No receipt – no deduction.
- NOT DEDUCTIBLE AT ALL.
- Money you give your kids to go on a mission or charitable excursion. Give to the organization instead – however, the organization does NOT have to use the money for your child.
- Money you pay for tuition at a private school. There may be a charitable gift opportunity, but not if it is designated tuition. It must be a separate amount paid strictly for charitable purposes. HOWEVER…HINT: you can give money to your child’s PUBLIC SCHOOL and get a tax deduction (and sometimes a state CREDIT).
- Money you give to a “memorial fund” at a bank – unless you have a document that states that the fund is a 501(c)(3) organization.
- Money or stuff you give to a family member or friend to help them out.
- Money you gift your children or grandchildren – ie the $13,000 annual gift allowance.
- Money you pay to buy stuff at church or a charitable organization – coffee, tapes, books, classes, games, bric-a-brac.
COLORADO NEEDS YOUR HELP – and it is so simple…
You have the opportunity to make a quick and easy charitable contribution by simply designating a dollar or more of your Colorado tax refund to one or more of the charities listed below. You can also add a few dollars to your tax payment, if you like, to help a cause or two.
Simply let us know how much you would like to donate. Your donation will be deductible on your 2014 tax return (next year—we keep track). May we make a suggestion? Simply donate $1 to each of the following for a total of $15. It is not much and it helps A LOT. These programs depend on our generosity. Thank You!!
• Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Cash Fund
• The Colorado Domestic Abuse Program Fund
• The Homeless Prevention Activities Program Fund
• The Western Slope Military Veterans’ Cemetery Fund
• The Pet Overpopulation Fund
• The Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund
• The Alzheimer’s Association Fund
• The Military Family Relief Fund
• The Colorado Cancer Fund
• The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado Fund
• The Unwanted Horse Fund
• Goodwill Industries
• Families in Action for Mental Health Fund
• Colorado Multiple Sclerosis Fund
• Public Education Fund