Dues or memberships may only be partially tax deductible - ask the organization for a receipt with a breakdown.
Gifts to people in need are not tax deductible. (Benefits, gifts to pan handlers etc).
Donations of household goods and clothing in excess of $500 require a detailed report (Form 8283) to IRS.
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Let us know if you have an unusual situation and we will advise you accordingly. The rules can get complex.
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Consider naming your favorite charity in your will or as a beneficiary on your IRA or other account.
If you are over 70 1/2, consider making a direct contribution from your Traditional IRA to your favorite charity.
Time spent volunteering is not deductible. You may track mileage in connection with volunteer work and take a per mile deduction (see checklists).
Political donations are not tax deductible.
Consider gifting appreciated stock or property to your favorite charity. Your deduction may be based upon the fair market value of the property.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Teddy Roosevelt
Obtain and keep receipts! All qualified charitable organizations are in the habit of issuing receipts, so this shouldn't be a big deal. No receipt=no deduction.
Charitable contributions kick in at the federal level if you itemize your deductions (long form or Schedule A). (Only 1/3 of individuals itemize). Minnesota allows a subtraction if your charitable amount is over $500.