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Donations, deductions, options & possible tax-law changes

Online donation charity solicitation drawing_WikiHow

Quick email question for you. Are you getting more online sale announcements or more requests to donate to good causes?

It's close in my inbox, but charitable solicitations seem to be winning. That's not really a surprise. I'm not much of a shopper, in real life or online, so I don't generate enough of a cookie trail for e-tailers to follow.

Plus, in the wake of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changes, charities are making concerted efforts to encourage donors. That means every nonprofit to which I've given over the years, as well as the groups they sold their lists to, are asking me for money.

I get it. As noted, the TCJA almost doubled the old standard deduction amounts meaning that, according to some analyses, taxpayer itemizing is down from 30 percent in recent filing seasons to 10 percent during this latest one.

That's a notable number because you have to itemize your deductible expenses, charitable gifts included, to get any tax benefit from your donations.

More charitable changes? That's a factor that's addressed in Planet Money's look at whether it's time to reform the charitable deduction.

Any changes would be beyond the nominal TCJA change that allows folks, primarily richer ones, to donate more of their money. That limit on charitable gifts was 50 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The tax reform bill nudged that up to 60 percent of AGI.

The article from Planet Money, the NPR feature that focuses on economic issues, looks at a couple of ways we could change our current tax connection to giving to increase individual donations.

Rather than rehash the two options here, I'm tagging Greg Rosalsky's piece entitled "Charitable Giving Is Down. It Might Be Time To Reform The Charitable Deduction." as one of two items worthy of this weekend's Saturday Shout Out.

The other Shout Out notable this weekend is "8 Types of Charitable Giving" from The Balance. Wes Moss' piece provides an octo-overview of philanthropic options and how to determine what type of charitable giving is best for you.

Check out both Saturday Shout Outs, as well as (shameless plug) the latest Weekly Tax Tip that offers 5 ways to check out a charity before you donate.

You also might find these items of interest:





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I have a question about charitable donations that are non-cash to churches. My husband is a part-time pastor where his call is one day and on Sundays. Because of his position he is expected to attend quarterly and sometimes monthly meetings. Can we deduct this mileage under charity as well as anything we donate to the church on our own?

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