2016 is here, and once again, it is time for folks to turn their thoughts towards taxes. December 31st was the last day for which people can make contributions to eligible charities if they want to deduct those donations from their taxes this spring.
Contributions to tax-deductible organizations count for the tax year in which they are made, so contributions must be made by or on Dec. 31. This includes monetary donations as well as donations of clothing or household goods.
Donors need to get a written statement from a charity in order to get tax credit for any gifts worth $250 or more. The IRS warns that the items should be in good used condition or even better. The exception is for any item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of $500 or more and includes a qualified appraisal.
Some charities run promotions soliciting donations of old cars or boats. If you donate a car for tax credit, the deductions you can claim are generally limited to the amount for which the charity sells the vehicle, if it’s more than $500. The charity must provide the donor with an IRS Form 1098-C to be included with the donor’s tax return.
The IRS also requires that a taxpayer get a statement from the charity for any gift of $250 or more, whether in money or goods.
The filing deadline to submit 2015 tax returns is Monday, April 18, 2016, rather than the traditional April 15 date. Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on that Friday, which pushes the deadline to the following Monday for most of the nation. (Due to Patriots Day, the deadline will be Tuesday, April 19, in Maine and Massachusetts,) according to the IRS.
The IRS will open the tax season on Jan. 19, when it begins processing tax returns that are filed electronically.