Smart Tips for Charitable Givers This Season

9 Tips for The Smart Charitable Giver This Season


The holiday season is also the high season for charitable giving. As people make donations to their favorite organizations, those who wish to report their contributions at tax time should first familiarize themselves with the following nine helpful rules of charitable giving.

1. Verify the Charitable Organization’s Legitimacy

Perhaps the most important rule taxpayers should know about charitable giving is that the recipient must be a legitimate 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Therefore, individuals must verify the organization’s legitimacy prior to making a donation. The IRS also recognizes donations to churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples. Taxpayers may use the IRS Select Check tool to determine whether the organization to which they would like to donate qualifies.

Legitimate charity for taxable donations

Legitimate charity for taxable donations

2. Request a Receipt and Save It

Taxpayers should retain proof of their charitable donations. Most organizations will provide a receipt. However, in some cases, a cancelled check or credit card statement may be sufficient documentation. If a donation exceeds $250, the taxpayer is required to request and retain a written acknowledgement from the organization.

3. Know the Deadline

Many taxpayers are relieved to know that the deadline for charitable donations for the present year is December 31st. Those who wish to receive the tax break for their donation, but would like to have more time to pay may choose to use a credit card to donate by December 31st and pay their balance in the new year. Donors should note, however, that organizations often charge a processing fee for credit card donations. Therefore, slightly less of the donation amount may be used for its intended charitable purpose if a credit card is used.


charitable tax deadlines

charitable tax deadlines


4. Donor-Advised Funds

Those who are unsure of exactly how they would like their charitable donation to be allocated may consider a donor-advised fund. The taxpayer would simply need to open an account in the fund and deposit cash, securities, or other financial instruments. The donor surrenders ownership over deposits that are made into the account; however, he or she will maintain administrative control. The advantage of a donor-advised fund is that the donor may deduct the entire amount contributed to the account in 2014; however, he or she may wait until a later date to decide how the funds will be distributed. A donor-advised fund may be opened with as little as $5,000.

5. Taxpayers Must Itemize Deductions

Those who wish to claim the standard deduction, instead of itemizing their deductions, may not claim a deduction for a charitable contribution. For some people, simply claiming the standard deduction is advantageous over itemizing; therefore, it is better that they forego attempting to deduct their charitable contributions. Individuals who are blind or over the age of 65 will generally have a higher standard deduction. Conversely, there are also taxpayers who are precluded from claiming the standard deduction. Married taxpayers who file separately, and one spouse has already decided to itemize are included in this category. These individuals should claim a deduction for their charitable contributions as they are required to itemize by default.

tax deductions

tax deductions


6. It is Possible to Qualify for Two Tax Breaks

In addition to a tax deduction, taxpayers may reap a second tax benefit when they donate highly appreciated stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. While capital gains are typically taxable, the taxpayer will not owe capital gains taxes in this case. Furthermore, he or she may deduct the full market value of the investment as a charitable gift.

7. Consider the Value of Donated Items

Donors should avoid attempting to claim a deduction for donating items that would be considered junk. When donating clothes and household items, the taxpayer may deduct the fair market value if the items are in good condition. When donating items that are of high value, the donor should take photo for documentation as it is the taxpayers responsibility to prove the value of the item. The Salvation Army and Goodwill have published guides to help donors determine the value of items they wish to donate. The “ItsDeductible” app may also be helpful.


Taxable Donation of Used Cars

Taxable Donation of Used Cars


8. Donating a Car

Car owners who wish to donate a vehicle should be aware that the Kelly Blue Book value does not necessarily determine the amount of their tax deduction. Generally, taxpayers may deduct no more than the amount the non-profit organization is able to receive when selling the car. When donating cars and other property that is worth more than $500, IRS Form 8283 must also be filed.

9. Get Money for Miles Driven

Those who donate their time may be delighted to know that the IRS also allows deductions for miles driven in the course of performing charitable work. Taxpayers may deduct 14 cents per mile. Similar to other charitable donations, it is important to document mileage for the purpose of record-keeping.

While it is the spirit of generosity that matters most when giving, following tax guidelines closely can help charitable contributors save money at tax time. In the end, the IRS has the final say in whether a deduction is legitimate. Therefore, it pays to consult a qualified tax professional or review IRS publications prior to making a sizable donation.

Hopefully, this article provided some quality insights.  As a side note, when it comes to your tax filing efforts to take advantage of these ideas for yourself and/or clients, consider e-filing this season.  When looking for a solution to file 1099 forms online, I suggest you look at an industry leader like

They will efile 1099 tax forms for you, along with printing and delivering your forms to recipients as well.  That alone will save you countless hours of prepping envelopes, forms and postage, including running around to drop off the mail.  Check out their video above to learn more.


The Purpose Of The HCFA CMS 1500 Form

Filling out medical forms can get complicated.

Insurance covered procedures require a CMS 1500 filing.

Insurance covered procedures require a CMS 1500 filing.


There are numerous forms that you need to fill out when working within a medical billing office. Confusion can often result from the variety of choices. Survey any number of medical offices, and you’ll find the hcfa cms claim form 1500 is used the most. Here’s the basics:

  • The form was previously known as the HCFA 1500 but has since been named cms1500 claim form.
  • The name was derived from the centers for medicare services.
  • Several Medicaid State Agencies require this form to process billing.

Mostly used by non-hospital providers and suppliers in the medical industry.

By law, the filled in form must be submitted within 365 days to receive reimbursement for services rendered. Some people try to use copies of the form, but quickly realize that it’s produced with a special ink, making it hard to re-use. Due to a specific scanning technology called OCR, the red ink used is meant to facilitate that process of reading the information on the form. The scan reads what has been added to the form making it extremely important you have the exact form.


Almost 100% of the time, poor quality ink on the form results in errors.

Two keys to ensuring your submissions are as follows. First use only the most current form. And make sure the ink is exactly what is required. If you don’t send in the correct form, or send in a form without the correct ink, your forms will not be processed. Any delays in re-submitting the corrected form and information could result in no payment at all.

The bottom line is you need forms that are trustworthy. And as such, you need to find a quality provider.