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What’s different about charitable donations this tax year?

Posted on January 16, 2019

It’s more important than ever to be sure any charitable donations you make will, in fact, be deductible this tax year. That’s because last year’s tax reforms included changes to the way standard deductions are taken.

Individuals who formerly itemized (including charitable donations) may find it more beneficial to take the standard deduction for tax year 2018. You can still itemize deductions, but you may no longer want – or need to – since taking the standard deduction may improve your bottom line.

How to know? Taxpayers can check their 2017 itemized deductions to make sure they understand what these changes mean to their tax situation for 2018. Then go to IRS.gov/taxreform to learn more about the change. Or ask your Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres CPA for help.

To begin with, you need to know whether or not the donations you have made throughout the year are deductible in the first place. It’s not always easy to tell which organizations qualify. That’s why it’s a good ideas to research the name of charitable organizations you support on the IRS.gov Tax Exempt Organization Search tool.

Here are 5 ways to use the IRS.gov Tax Exempt Organization Search tools before you make your donation:

  • Check by legal name. Organizations are listed under their legal name or their “doing business as” name on file with the IRS. (No separate listing of common or popular names is searchable.)
  • Confirm that an organization is tax exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
  • Find out if an organization had its tax-exempt status revoked. (A common reason for revocation is when an organization does not file its Form 990-series return for three consecutive years.)
  • Know that you won’t be able to check all organizations. For instance, churches, organizations in a group ruling, and some governmental entities will not show up on the tool.
  • Need more information? Here are more IRS online resources:

Tips for Tax Exempt Organization Search

Tax Exempt Organization Search: Frequently Asked Questions

Tax Reform Basics for Individuals and Families

TSPA recommends that you allow more tax preparation time this year than you did last year. That’s because you and your tax advisor will need to make changes in how you file and what you file this year. You can make an appointment as soon as you have received all your tax forms. We are ready to help with your questions and your paperwork whether you are a first time client or a 20-year client.