With the last few days of the year approaching, it’s not too late to make a charitable donation to your favorite charity or to provide collected personal or household items to a local non-profit group. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, the annual American household gave $2,974 to charities in 2014. In addition, non-profits are seeing online donations on the rise. With the ease of technology, here are a few reminders for last minute donations. Remember that contributions are considered to be claimed on the delivery date to the charity:
- Contributions made by December 31, 2015 will be considered to be made within the 2015 tax year
- Any contributions that are made with assets that fluctuate (stocks or securities) will be determined by the value on the date made
- Any mailed donations must have a postmark date of December 31, 2015 to count toward the current tax year, however, post-dated checks and returned/bounced checks are exceptions to the rules
- Contributions made on credit cards are counted when the processing of the charge is made
Many personal donations are given during the holiday season because of goodwill, however, the tax benefits can also be significant. If you are giving stocks or other assets that have grown in value, there may be a greater tax benefit. Before making any donations, make sure you double-check that the charity you are choosing qualifies for tax-exempt deductions. Make sure to be careful of phone calls or other online scams. There are some great charity search websites, like, “Charity Navigator” and the Better Business Bureau’s www.give.org website allows you to search charities that are accredited.