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Published on: 09/19/2023 • 5 min read

How Do Charitable Donations Affect Taxes?

Understanding the tax implications of charitable donations can be one of the more complex aspects of financial planning for high-net-worth individuals. While the act of giving not only supports the causes you are passionate about, it can also provide a significant tax advantage that you want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of.

Without the right knowledge, taxpayers may miss out on these benefits or make errors in their tax reporting, leading to potential penalties. So, exactly how do charitable donations affect taxes?

Generally speaking, taxpayers who itemize their deductions can include charitable donations on their return. Here’s what you need to know about charitable giving strategies and obtaining a tax deduction for your donations.

Are charitable donations tax deductible?

Yes, depending on the type of donation and the size of your charitable gift. According to the charitable contribution deductions set by the IRS, qualified cash contributions are generally tax-deductible for up to 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for individuals. Corporations can deduct up to 25% of their adjusted income for qualified cash donations, and contributions that total more than these limits can be applied to the next tax year.

For cash donations over $250, you must provide an itemized receipt or written acknowledgment from the charity, which includes its name, the date, and the amount of your contribution. If you make noncash donations worth more than $500, then you need to fill out Form 8283 and attach it to your tax return. Noncash property, such as furniture, clothing, electronics, etc., must be in good condition when donated for them to qualify for charitable tax deductions.

Keep in mind that you must donate more than 2% of your AGI in order to be able to claim certain deductions. So, if you’re looking to reduce your taxable income, it’s important to plan ahead and strategize your donations.

What other charitable tax deductions are available?

In some cases, taxpayers can deduct other expenses associated with their charitable giving, such as expenses incurred while volunteering, mileage, and shipping costs. While the IRS doesn’t allow the value of services or time to be deducted, out-of-pocket expenses directly related to volunteer services, like the cost of gas and oil, are deductible.

Volunteers can choose to deduct actual gas and oil costs or use the standard mileage rate for charitable organizations. The costs of parking fees and tolls may also be deducted, whether or not you use your actual expenses or the standard mileage rate.

As for shipping costs, any amounts spent to mail goods or supplies to a charitable organization can be deducted. The costs of creating or buying and then shipping care packages, for instance, can be included in your charitable contributions.

Remember that to claim any of these tax deductible donations, you must keep detailed records of your expenses, the services you provided, and the organization you served. It’s also beneficial to consult with a boutique family office to learn whether you’re making the most of your charitable deductions.

Reducing your estate taxes with charitable contributions

In addition to the tax benefits discussed above, high-net-worth taxpayers interested in multigenerational wealth planning can also reduce their estate taxes by making charitable donations. The IRS allows taxpayers to leave up to 100% of an estate’s value to charity without incurring a tax penalty.

So if you choose to donate a large sum of money or property to a charitable organization, the amount of that donation will be excluded when calculating your estate tax liability. As such, it’s a great way for taxpayers to support their favorite causes while also preventing an unnecessarily high estate tax bill.

So, is it worth it to claim charitable donations on taxes?

If you’re looking for tax planning ideas for high-income individuals that aim to reduce taxable income, it may be worth considering making a charitable contribution. Charitable donations can provide individuals and businesses with significant tax deductions (25-60% of AGI) during their lifetime and beyond it.

However, it’s important to remember that the amount of money or property donated must exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income in order to qualify for certain deductions. Additionally, you should always keep detailed records of your donations or expenses incurred while volunteering or donating because the IRS may ask for more information.

Wondering how a charitable giving strategy can complement your tax plan? Let’s talk.

Understanding the intricate dynamics of how charitable donations affect taxes can empower you to make informed decisions and optimize your tax benefits, all while supporting causes you care deeply about. Nevertheless, this process requires strategic planning, adherence to IRS guidelines, meticulous record-keeping, and the avid support of financial advisors like those from Avidian Wealth Solutions.

Avidian Wealth Solutions is a fiduciary wealth management firm offering family wealth solutions to high-net-worth individuals, families, business owners, and investors.

Whether you’re an individual or a business, charting a thoughtful roadmap for charitable giving can enhance your tax strategy, reduce your taxable income, and ultimately enable you to create meaningful change through your donations. Our multidisciplinary team looks forward to helping you understand the tax deductions for charitable donations and creating a plan that works best for your financial and charitable goals.

To learn more about our comprehensive family office concierge services, schedule a conversation with us today.

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