Tax Deductions and Credits How to Track Your Charitable Contributions Read the Article Open Share Drawer Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Written by Jim Wang Modified May 6, 2022 As we near the end of the year, a lot of folks start thinking about charitable contributions. The holidays are a wonderful time to give to your favorite organizations, and December 31 is the last day to make a tax deductible contribution count for 2016. But perhaps you’ve lost track of donations you made in the spring and summer? As you make donations throughout the year, it’s important to build a system to track charitable donations (say, the TurboTax It’s Deductible app!) so you don’t forget a single deduction! What is a charitable donation? The basic rule is that any money or property you donate to a qualified charitable organization is tax deductible. Every charity knows whether it’s qualified by the IRS and you can search for them on the IRS website. The rules of documenting cash donations and property donations differ. For cash donations, you can use a cancelled check or statement from your credit card or bank, if the donation is under $250. If it is over $250, the charity will need to give you written acknowledgement of the donation. It can be a mailed letter or an email, but you need it to prove you made the donation. For property donations, you will need to record the property’s fair market value – that’s what you will deduct. If the property is a single item or a group of similar items worth over $5,000, like artwork, you will need an appraisal from a qualified appraiser. Unfortunately, you cannot claim a tax deduction for donation of your time. If you drove to volunteer at a charity, you can deduct the mileage at 14 cents per mile, as well as any supplies you bought for the charity. What’s the best way to keep track of your donations? Try different systems until you find the one that works with you. You need to store all these receipts and documents in a safe place and then remember to retrieve them when it comes to preparing your taxes. I scan every receipt and keep in a folder on my computer, and I save every email receipt to a PDF and store those in the same folder. When it comes time to do my taxes during tax season, all my receipts have accumulated in the same place. The key is to put all the documentation in one place. By having all your donations in one place, it’s hard to forget a receipt here or there. If you have some of your documentation in a physical folder and some in your email inbox, it’s very easy to forget one or the other. Don’t worry about knowing the tax laws related to charitable donations. TurboTax will ask you simple questions about your donations and give you the tax deductions you are eligible for based on your entries. Written by Jim Wang More from Jim Wang Browse Related Articles Taxes 101 Charity Tax Deductions (What Counts as a Contribution?) Tax Planning The Tax Deadline is Approaching: Tips to File on Time! Tax Reform Can I Get a Tax Break for Supporting My Alma Mater̵… Tax Reform I’m Donating to Charity This Winter, Will I Still Get… Tax Tips Donate Your Wedding Dress for Tax Deduction Tax Tips How to Donate Your Time, Property, and Cash Tax Planning I’m Projected to Owe Taxes Next Year – What… Tax Planning Tomorrow is the Tax Deadline: 7 Things You Need to Know… Comments are closed.