Get your check in the mail today! Charitable contributions are deductible in the year made, make you feel good immediately, and may give you some IRS Tax Relief in April. Therefore, donations paid by check still count for tax 2012 as long as they are mailed by today, the last day of 2012. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2012 count for 2012, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until year 2013.
To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, bank or credit union statements, and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.
To be deductible, clothing and household items donated to a charity generally must be in good used condition or better. A clothing or household item for which a taxpayer claims a deduction of over $500 does not have to meet this standard if the taxpayer includes a qualified appraisal of the item with the return. Household items include furniture, furnishings, electronics, appliances and linens.
But remember, only donations to qualified organizations are tax-deductible. A searchable online database listing most organizations that are qualified to receive deductible contributions is available here on IRS.gov. Additionally, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are usually eligible to receive deductible donations, even if they are not listed in the database.