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IRS Offers Tax Tips for 'Season of Giving'

Here are some 'Season of Giving' tips from the IRS covering everything from charity donations to refund planning.

December is traditionally a month for giving generously to charities, friends and family. But it’s also a time that can have a major impact on the tax return you’ll file in the New Year. Here are some “Season of Giving” tips from the IRS covering everything from charity donations to refund planning:

  • Contribute to Qualified Charities.  If you plan to take an itemized charitable deduction on your 2012 tax return, your donation must go to a qualified charity by Dec. 31. Ask the charity about its tax-exempt status. You can also visit IRS.gov and use the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool to check if your favorite charity is a qualified charity. Donations charged to a credit card by Dec. 31 are deductible for 2012, even if you pay the bill in 2013. A gift by check also counts for 2012 as long as you mail it in December. Gifts given to individuals, whether to friends, family or strangers, are not deductible.

  • What You Can Deduct.  You generally can deduct your cash contributions and the fair market value of most property you donate to a qualified charity. Special rules apply to several types of donated property, including clothing or household items, cars and boats.

  • Keep Records of All Donations.  You need to keep a record of any donations you deduct, regardless of the amount. You must have a written record of all cash contributions to claim a deduction. This may include a cancelled check, bank or credit card statement or payroll deduction record. You can also ask the charity for a written statement that shows the charity’s name, contribution date and amount.

  • Gather Records in a Safe Place.  As long as you’re gathering those records for your charitable contributions, it’s a good time to start rounding up documents you will need to file your tax return in 2013. This includes receipts, canceled checks and other documents that support income or deductions you will claim on your tax return. Be sure to store them in a safe place so you can easily access them later when you file your tax return.

  • Plan Ahead for Major Purchases.  If you are making major purchases during the holiday season, don’t base them solely on the expectation of receiving your tax refund before the bills arrive. Many factors can impact the timing of a tax refund. The IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days after receiving a tax return. However, if your tax return requires additional review, it may take longer to receive your refund. 

For more information about contributions, check out Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. The booklet is available on IRS.gov or order by mail at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Follow me on Twitter: @DianneIRS

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim December 18, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Parksloper you are truly an idiot. Businesses DO NOT file individual or married filing joint tax return (1040). They file a completely different type of return with rates different than an individual. The only way there are taxed as an individual is if they have their business set up as a sole proprietership - and they deserve to be taxed heavily if they are that stupid (or rely on accountants that are that stupid) to let them organize their business as such.
Parksloper December 20, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Ever hear of Wikileaks John? Yes, there is life outside the UN. “In August 2004, for instance, American forces surreptitiously purchased what they believed to be containers of liquid sulfur mustard, a toxic “blister agent” used as a chemical weapon since World War I. The troops tested the liquid, and “reported two positive results for blister.” The chemical was then “triple-sealed and transported to a secure site” outside their base… In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the [Saddam]-era regime.” Even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the [Saddam]-era regime. Based on location, these rounds may be an AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] cache. However, the rounds were all total disrepair and did not appear to have been moved for a long time.” Deadly Nerve Agent Sarin Is Found in Roadside Bomb http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33082-2004May17.html
Parksloper December 20, 2012 at 01:47 AM
And Hans Blix was a liar: A REPORT declassified by the United Nations yesterday contained a hidden bombshell with the revelation that inspectors have recently discovered an undeclared Iraqi drone with a wingspan of 7.45m, suggesting an illegal range that could threaten Iraq’s neighbours with chemical and biological weapons. US officials were outraged that Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, did not inform the Security Council about the drone http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/article1970568.ece Who will you quote next John, Baghdad Bob?
John Gruber December 20, 2012 at 05:57 AM
considering you're quoting a man whom women claim they were sexually assaulted by him and any news source owned by Rupert Murdoch I'd say Baghdad Bob is probably more credible than either. Shall I read you a quote from the secretary general that says the same thing? And it appears you can't even read your own articles. "But weapons experts cautioned that the shell appeared to predate the 1991 Persian Gulf War and did not necessarily mean that Hussein possessed hidden stockpiles of chemical munitions." Aside from the fact I can't find ANY news source that ISN'T owned by Rupert Murdoch (thetimes.co.uk is) to verify that chemical drone, NO CHEMICAL WEAPONS were found on it.
John Gruber December 20, 2012 at 05:59 AM
considering you're quoting a man who has multiple sexual assault allegations against him and any news source owned by Rupert Murdoch, I'd say Baghdad Bob is probably more credible than either. Shall I read you a quote from the secretary general that says the same thing? And it appears you can't even read your own articles. "But weapons experts cautioned that the shell appeared to predate the 1991 Persian Gulf War and did not necessarily mean that Hussein possessed hidden stockpiles of chemical munitions." Aside from the fact I can't find ANY news source that ISN'T owned by Rupert Murdoch (thetimes.co.uk is) to verify that chemical drone, NO CHEMICAL WEAPONS were found on it.

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