Tax Prep: How You Can Write Off Your ‘Giving Tuesday’ Donations Without Having To Itemize Your Deductions

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The whole point of Giving Tuesday is to take a break from the holiday shopping frenzy by donating to your favorite charities, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t bring a little added benefit as well. This can come in the form of a write-off that will lower your 2021 federal tax bill. This year, you can take the deduction even if you don’t itemize.

See: 8 Charities You Can Feel Good Giving to This ‘Giving Tuesday’
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For that, you can thank the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, which was enacted last December. As the IRS notes on its website, the law provides several provisions to help taxpayers who give to charity, including on Giving Tuesday.

One of the provisions is to let individuals claim charitable deductions on their 2021 federal income tax returns without itemizing — but only up to a certain point. Typically, taxpayers who elect to take the standard deduction instead of itemizing can’t claim a deduction for their charitable contributions.

Under the new law, the limit for writing off contributions without having to itemize is $300 for cash contributions made to qualifying charities if you file as single or married filing separately. The maximum deduction is $600 for married individuals filing joint returns.

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See: How Tax Filing Status Relates to Deductions in 2021 and 2022
Find: Giving Tuesday — How To Make Sure a Donation Request Isn’t a Scam

“This is a unique opportunity to take advantage of a temporary tax benefit,” Juan Ros, certified financial planner at Forum Financial Management in Thousand Oaks, California, told CNBC.

The temporary benefit lets taxpayers write their charitable donations off and still take the standard 2021 deduction of $12,550 for single filers or $25,100 for married taxpayers. The donation must come in the form of a cash gift — including payments by check, credit card or debit card — and go to a qualified charity. You can’t claim the deduction for transfers to a donor-advised fund or private foundation

For a list of qualified charities, visit the IRS website. Also, make sure you keep good records. The IRS recommends obtaining an acknowledgment letter from the charity and retaining a cancelled check or credit card receipt for cash contributions before you file your return.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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