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December 11, 2018

Greetings Thrifty Friends,

Toys2018Wow, the year is really rushing to a close. Before you know it we will be toasting auld lang syne. Then in February all of those W-2s will be flooding out and everybody will be trying to maximize their tax return.

But sometimes people forget they will be doing THIS year's taxes next April, and that means any deductions you want to make, like charitable contributions, have to be made this year.

So now is the time to let go of your inner Scrooge and give a little, because next April you'll be getting a little back.

Keep pinchin' those pennies,

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Keep those receipts!

If you make a cash donation of less than $250, a canceled check or a receipt is sufficient. However, contributions of more than $250 require written documentation from the charitable organization. This receipt must include the amount you gave and whether or not you received anything of value as a result of your contribution.

Remember! Clothes and other property in good condition can also be donated!

Like cash donations, if you donate property (defined as anything that is not cash) to a charitable organization, the records you must keep depend on the value of the property you contribute. A contribution of less than $250 requires a receipt from the charity showing the charity's name, the date of the donation, and description of the property donated.

And please remember what counts as a charitable organization. Churches, synagogues and other religious organizations qualify, as do nonprofit schools and hospitals and obvious charities like Salvation Army, Goodwill or United Way.

You CANNOT deduct donations to social and sports clubs, labor unions, political groups or candidates for public office.

You can give thousands of dollars, but if you claim the standard deduction amount on your tax return, your charitable gifts will do you no tax good. You must itemize expenses on Schedule A to deduct charitable donations.