Monday, December 22, 2008


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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, bank or credit union statements, and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card, and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

These requirements for monetary donations do not change or alter the long-standing requirement that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required information may meet the requirements of both provisions.

For information, visit the IRS website.

New deduction for Real Estate taxes

There is an additional standard deduction for those who do not qualify to itemize tax deductions, but pay real estate taxes. The deduction is equal to the amount of real estate taxes paid up to $500 for single filers or $1,000 joint filers and is available for the 2008 and 2009 tax years.

Just bring the amount of taxes you paid when you visit your tax preparer.