In a normal year — and no, we have not had one of those lately — only the small minority of those who itemize their tax returns can deduct charitable donations.
The Internal Revenue Service joined with several nonprofit groups on Monday, Dec. 13, to get the word out about a special pandemic tax provision that can help the 85% of people who don’t itemize get a tax credit for their largesse.
The rules: You must give to a bona fide charity that has exempt status with the IRS. You can check whether the organization you want to give to qualifies at https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search.
Most individuals can get a deduction of up to $300 for gifts to charity, and married couples filing jointly can claim up to $600. Donations must be made by Dec. 31.
At a time when many charities are still struggling from the pandemic, and when tornadoes have left scores dead in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee, this pandemic provision can help, IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino said.
Nearly 2.7 million itemizing Californians took $28.6 billion in charitable deductions in 2019, according to the most recent data available. That was 1.7% of adjusted gross income.
Proceed with caution
Charities are in high gear this time of year, and so are bad actors appealing to folks’ better angels.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta…