Tips, advice, and the latest news from the savings world.
December 8, 2011
By Ron Heller, Senior Vice President and Regional Executive, Union Bank, N.A.
Supporting charitable organizations that we are passionate about can provide us with a sense of purpose and meaning while contributing to the well being of our communities. It can also offer some financial benefits in the form of tax deductions. While a tax deduction may not be your main motivation for making a donation to your favorite charity, most financial advisors agree that you should take advantage of the tax break.
Here are some tips to guide you through end-of-year charitable giving:
Do You Qualify?
Only taxpayers who itemize their deductions can claim deductions for charitable contributions. A taxpayer will see a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (such as mortgage interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. If you choose the standard deduction and file a short form (Form 1040A or 1040EZ), you may not write off charitable gifts.
Does the Charity Qualify?
Make sure your donations are made to an organization qualified to receive deductible contributions. Non-profit groups include eligible religious, educational and charitable groups. These groups are often referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations. Foreign charities and political organizations are generally not qualified for tax write-offs. Visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov) for a listing of qualified organizations.
December 5, 2011
Without a budget, holiday spending can get out of control. A few unplanned gift purchases and a last minute plan to visit relatives for the holiday can add up fast.
Take the guessing out of how much you will spend this holiday season with ClearPoint’s Holiday Planning Tool. This innovative tool suggests a holiday spending budget for you based on your annual salary. You can then use their tool to break down your holiday spending over several categories including gifts, parties, travel, food, and donations.
I really like this tool because it takes into account more than just the gifts you will buy this holiday. Many people throw a holiday party or have to drive or fly to visit family and forget to budget for these items in their holiday spending plan.
This is a great tool for this holiday season and can help you get a jump on saving for next holiday season as well.