Assuming anybody has any money to give this year, the IRS offers the following advice on claiming deductions for charitable giving:
- If you want the deduction count on your 2011 taxes, then you have to make the contribution before the end of the year.
- The organization you donate to must be a qualified organization — confirm using IRS Publication 78.
- Charitable contributions are only deductible if you itemize, not if you take the standard deduction.
- Keep good records and save donation receipts.
- You may need to complete Form 8283 for non-cash contributions
As always, the best, most comprehensive source of information is the IRS publication on the topic. For more information related to charitable contributions, see Publication 526 (available on the IRS website).