October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in America, so getting involved in the effort to fight breast cancer can have a tremendous impact. You can help the community by teaching others about services and treatments available, supporting those currently in treatment, and raising money for more research.
While making donations to the community is a reward in and of itself, it can also benefit your taxes. If you volunteer, give cash or non-cash items to a 501(c)(3) organization, your donation may be a tax-deductible charitable contribution.
Typically if you make a charitable donation to a qualified charity, you can deduct the contribution if you are able to itemize your deductions. Usually if you take the standard deduction you would not be able to deduct charitable donations; however, the CARES Act, allowed for charitable deduction on your 2020 taxes for cash donations made up to $300. Starting in tax year 2021, this amount is up to $600 per tax return for those filing married filing jointly and $300 for other filing statuses. If you are one of the close to 90% of taxpayers that now claims the standard deduction under tax reform you can take a charitable tax deduction even if you don’t itemize your deductions.
Your Donations Make a Difference
While huge progress has been made with prevention and treatment, there is still more to do. A few popular choices for donations include the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen. There are, of course, many other worthy charities, and if you want to double-check if the organizations are recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt charitable organizations, the IRS has this handy tool you can use.
You should also know that if you purchase merchandise or services during fundraising activities, you can also deduct the amount that exceeds the value of goods or services you received. If you donated goods like clothes, you can deduct their fair market value.
Volunteering Your Time
Of course, you can give meaningfully without having to donate money. Volunteering can be a huge help for organizations and cancer patients. If part of your volunteer work involves travel, remember to keep good records! You may be able to deduct your mileage at 14 cents per mile if you travel to volunteer for qualified charitable organizations. Other travel expenses you’ll want to keep track of include lodging while you’re out of town and meals.
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