Important reminders to keep in mind while planning your holiday and year-end charitable giving include the following:

  • Qualified Charities. It is important to check to see if the charity is eligible to receive tax-deductible donations. “Select Check,” a searchable online tool available on gov, lists most such eligible organizations. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations, even if they are not listed in the tool’s database.
  • Year-end Gifts. Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2014 count for 2014, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2015. Also, checks count for 2014, as long as they are mailed in 2014.
  • Itemize Deductions. For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to individuals who choose the standard deduction.
  • Special Rules for Cars Boats, and Airplanes. The deduction for a car, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500. The organization must give you Form 1098-C or a similar statement that you can attached to your tax return.