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Do's and Don'ts of Charitable Contributions

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With another year coming to a close, it's time to think about getting in those charitable contributions. The IRS rewards you with tax deductions for giving to charities, but there are lots of rules regulating how to go about writing off your generosity.

Kiplinger is out with a list of what's deductible, from A to Z.  It's a good place to start as 2010 comes to a close. Here are a few of them:

  • If you drove while performing services for a charity, you can deduct 14 cents per mile.
  • If you give property with a total value of more than $500, you'll need to file Form 8283 and give some details about it.
  • You may wonder if your donated services are deductible.  They aren't. You do not get to write-off the value of your labor you contribute to charity.  Only your out-of-pocket expenses are deductible.
  • For those really generous, generally, your deduction for donations to charity in one year cannot exceed 50% of your adjusted gross income for that year.  But if it's more it can be carried over for the following five tax years to reduce income then.
  • And, as always, get a receipt from the charity.  You'll need it when you file next April to substantiate every donation you deduct.

Click here for the complete list of Kiplinger's "what's Deductible? -- A to Z.