Christmas is a time for giving but there is no reason you cannot also benefit from your charitable contributions! The new year is just ten days away. Increase your tax refund by donating to a qualified organization.

The IRS does not allow tax deductions for contributions made to specific individuals, political organizations or candidates. Use the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check search tool to research charities before you donate.

Once you have selected the organization you wish to donate to research the charity to see what donations they request. Visit their website to see if they prefer cash donations or new or used items. The charity might ask those that donate to purchase specific new items and give to the charity. The charity might have a wishlist for specific families that are in need that you can purchase directly from. Item donations can be deducted from your tax return so make sure to keep all receipts.

When you donate to the charity ask for a receipt if they do not automatically give you one. The receipt should list the name of the organization, contribution amount, address, and date so you are able to write-off the donation on your 2016 tax return.

To deduct the charitable donation on your tax return you will need to file a Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A. Keep receipts from your charitable donations all year to maximize your write-off.

Keep in mind if you receive a benefit from your donation, like tickets to a game or merchandise, you can only deduct the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit you received.

You can see more tips for charitable contributions on the IRS website. Remember helping others with a donation during the holidays is deserving of a tax write-off which is why the IRS allows it. Keep all receipts and visit Tax Pros Plus in 2017 for help filing your tax return!

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