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Tax Tips for Maximizing Charitable Deductions

By Daniel Cherry | Published 21 Dec 2012 05:25pm | comments
Mississippians looking to lower their overall tax bill in 2012 have only a few days left. MPB's Daniel Cherry has tips that experts say will maximize results and avoid headaches.
 
Time is running out for Mississippians hoping to lower their tax bill through charitable contributions. Dee Harris Stepter is a spokesperson for the IRS. She says anyone trying to get in a last-minute donation needs to have their check in the mail or credit card donation in by the 31st.
 
"Even though you're not going to pay that credit card possibly until sometime next year, it's going to be when the transaction occurred. So you need to make sure all of this is done by December 31st, and you can put a check in the mail as long as it clears within a couple of weeks into the first of the year."
 
And for those who are looking to give before the end of the year, experts warn, not all charities are created equal. Some organizations pocket more money than they use on services to the needy...others are just outright scams. Stepter advises checking charities out first to make sure the donation qualifies on tax day.
 
"One way is just to ask the charity are they a tax-exempt status. You can also check their status by visiting IRS.gov. We have an online tool. It's the exempt organization select check tool to see if your charity does qualify so that those contributions are deductible on your tax return."
 
And Stepter advises those who are itemizing deductions, first of all KEEP RECORDS, and go ahead and get them in order to cut down on the hassle when filing.
 
"Definitely if you've been accumulating records for items throughout the year that will qualify you for a deduction on your tax return that you do want to put them all in the same place so that they're easy to find when you're ready to file your tax return."
 
Experts say, in most cases, there's no cap on how much can be deducted through charitable giving.

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