In these difficult times, many people are feeling inspired to give a little extra to organizations that help keep their community going. Below are some things to keep in mind regarding when and how best to donate.

  • Making one or two larger donations rather than many small ones can make it easier to keep track of where your money is going, reduce future junk mail, and cut down on tax preparation time and fees.
  • It is worth asking the organization what is most helpful for them to receive right now. Some local groups can really use goods, like food and clothing, while larger charities often prefer cash, so they can buy supplies cheaply where they are most needed.
  • Contributions to political parties, candidates and causes are not deductible. Virginia used to let us deduct up to $25 in political contributions, but this is no longer allowed. This disqualifies some charities because they lobby or support certain candidates. It is worth investigating whether a group is a deductible 501(c)3 organization before giving.
  • There is no tax deduction for time spent volunteering, but there is a small benefit to driving for charity purposes: we can deduct 14 cents per mile. Keep track of and send me your total charity miles driven each year.