In the United States, April 15 is the deadline to file your taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). By this day, most people in the U.S. have already filed their taxes; however, some may have left this task until the very last day. What they may not know is that they can use any charitable donations given in the previous year to help lower their tax bills if they itemize their deductions. For example, donating clothing to charity organizations is one of the best ways to get a write-off in those deductions.
Whether you’ve filed your taxes already and want to learn about deductions for next year or you’ve waited until April 15, there are plenty of opportunities that can help you save. Here’s what you should know about deducting your donations to charity organizations:
1. Find qualified charity organizations. When you donate, it’s important to give to an organization that will help you get a tax benefit. Some charities only operate drop boxes or do not give receipts for donations. If you have questions about giving to a local organization, make sure to ask before you drop off your items or have them picked up from your home or office.
2. Keep a list of what you’ve donated. If you donated last year or if you plan to this year, make sure that you have a list of each item you’ve donated. If you gave gently used clothing donations to charity, then you should be able to itemize each garment that you donated. Online calculators should give you an idea of what each piece was worth based on what kind of garment it was (shirt, dress, jeans, etc.) and the condition of that piece. If you do your own taxes, you can calculate this yourself. Bring in your list and a rough estimate of your deductions if you have someone do your taxes for you.
3. Get a receipt. When you donate, you should be able to get a receipt from a charity. This helps prove that you gave to an organization, especially if you have to have your tax accountant file this information. This is necessary for both individual and corporate donations in the event that you are ever audited. In most cases, you won’t have to show the receipt to the IRS, but it’s good to have in case your filing gets reviewed.
Need more information on deducting your donations from your taxes? Ask a charity or a tax expert to make sure that you get those numbers right. You can leave a comment below with any general questions on taxes and charitable donations.