Are you thinking about making an end of the year donation to your favorite charitable cause? If you said yes, you’re not alone. Statistics show almost a third of all charitable giving is done in December.
Giving to charity not only helps a good cause, but you can write it off on your 2017 tax return. Before you give, make sure you do your homework. Here are some things to know before you write a check or donate to charity:
- GIVE TO A REPUTABLE CHARITY – Do you have a favorite charity? Are they a designated 501c3? That’s the only way a legitimate charitable organization has tax-exempt status and the only way you can write off a donation on your tax return. This time of year, there are a lot of scammers out there posing as charities, so be on the lookout for fakes. You can check an organization’s status on the IRS’ website through its The Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH – Believe it or not, about two-thirds of people who make donations, do absolutely no research before making a charitable donation. Most people give to organizations they already know or have heard about through word of mouth. Before you make a donation, don’t just go with large charities, do a little research and why not give to reputable organizations that do good work in your own community.
- USE SECURE PAYMENT METHODS – Beware of charitable organizations that will only take cash payments. Most legitimate charities have a credit card option. Avoid texting your information, instead ask the charity if they have a secure website page for donations.
- SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS – As an accountant, who happens to be a bookkeeper, I am all about the numbers. My team and I at Brigade Bookkeeping help our clients write off many tax donations throughout the year. But remember, if you make a contribution, save your receipts because without them, we can’t deduct them from your tax return. Remember, if you want a donation to count for 2017, you have to make it by December 31st.
If you haven’t donated to a charitable cause, do it now. Donating has benefits for you as well. It will make you feel like you’ve done something good. We encourage you to help those in need and help lessen your tax burden as well.