Whether you made charitable contributions in 2014 in response to disasters or as part of your regular gift-giving practice, here are some tax rules to keep in mind as you prepare to take a deduction.
- You must itemize deductions on your federal income tax return in order to benefit from charitable contributions. Generally, you’ll itemize when the sum of all your allowable deductions — such as interest, taxes, and donations — exceeds the standard amount. When you’re married and file a joint return, the basic standard deduction for 2014 is $12,400. It’s $6,200 when you’re single, or married and filing separate returns.
- The “phase-out” of itemized deductions limits the total amount of charitable contributions you can claim. For 2014, the phase-out applies if you’re married filing jointly and your adjusted gross income is more than $305,050 ($254,200 if you’re single).
- The type of property you donate, as well as the type of charity you donate to, can limit the amount of your deduction. In addition, the charity receiving your donation must be “qualified.” The IRS maintains an online list of qualified organizations that are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. Be aware that money you give to specific individuals is not deductible, even if you donate to a qualified charity collecting donations for that individual.
If you have questions about the deductibility of contributions, please give us a call!