Smart Ways to Invest in Charities You Care About

(NewsUSA) – Giving Tuesday, a day dedicated to giving back, occurs on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, but charitable giving is a year-round endeavor. With some smart financial planning, you can support the causes that mean the most to you.     

You don’t have to break your budget to make a difference, says Scott Ward, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional. A recent survey by Lending Tree showed that 56% of Americans gave to a charity of some kind in 2021, and nearly 92% of those who gave to charity included charitable deductions on their tax returns.     

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Keep these ideas in mind to help support your favorite causes while staying within your budget.     

• Give time. If you are on a tight budget, volunteer your time to a local charity. “If your volunteer service requires you to drive your own car, keep tabs on your mileage; you may have an opportunity to deduct it on your tax return,” Ward says.     

• Consider securities. Stock shares that have appreciated for more than a year can be donated outright to charity with a variety of benefits. “Both you and the charity may be able to avoid capital-gains taxes because you didn’t sell the shares, and you can deduct the fair market value of the asset on your next tax return,” Ward adds.     

• Donate non-cash items. You can deduct donations of non-cash items, such as clothing and furniture, as long as the items are in good condition. Ask for a receipt to document the donation. The IRS guide, Publication 561, can help you determine the value of your donations.     

• Maximize giving opportunities. Some companies offer matching contributions to charitable organizations. Also, if you are age 72 and older, you must take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, even if you are still working. If you were going to make a charitable donation anyway, consider a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). “The QCD option allows you to make a gift directly from your IRA to the eligible charity of up to $100,000 a year,” Ward says. This option allows you to increase your charitable donation, satisfy the RMD and reduce your taxable income, he says.     

• Set a schedule. If you want to take a tax deduction in one year (typically used for gifts in excess of the standard deduction limit) and donate to charity over time, consider a donor-advised fund. You can donate a variety of gifts to a donor-advised fund, including cash donations, investment securities and cryptocurrencies.     

Visit www.LetsMakeAPlan.org for more information about how giving can be part of your budget.

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