New Tax Rules for Charitable Contributions in 2020 Don’t Forget the CARES Act’s Special Bonus!
Many people tackled deep-cleaning projects while spending more time at home last year. If your cleaning spree ended in donating items to a local charity, or if you donated funds to help local organizations supporting pandemic relief, you can look forward to some tax breaks! To feel confident in claiming them, here's what you need to know about filing your 2020 taxes, including some unique additions from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Itemized vs. Standard Deductions When filing your taxes, you’ll need to first decide whether you want to itemize your deductions or take the standard deduction set by the IRS. Even those who cannot claim other tax credits or breaks qualify for the standard deduction. However, if you do have qualifying deductions and they add up to more than the standard deduction, it’s smarter to itemize your deductions.
Take note that the standard deduction was increased in 2020 because of the CARES Act. In 2019, the standard deduction for a single person was $12,200; in 2020, it’s $12,400. For those who are married and filing jointly, the standard deduction was $24,400 in 2019 and $24,800 in 2020. And the standard deduction for heads of household in 2019 was $18,350 and it’s $18,650 in 2020. Deductible Contributions If you choose to itemize your deductions, almost any gift to a qualified charitable organization can be deducted against your taxable income. It’s very important to keep records of all your contributions. According to the IRS, when donating items to a local charity like the Red Cross or Goodwill, the deductible value equals the fair market value of your items.
If you made cash donations in 2020, there is a special rule to be aware of: Donations to public charities are now 100% deductible instead of 60%. However, this doesn’t apply to private foundations. An Additional Charitable Deduction If you choose to take the standard deduction rather than itemize deductions on your 2020 tax return, you may qualify for a new deduction courtesy of the CARES Act. If you donated to a qualified charity before Jan. 1, 2021, you can deduct up to $300, for single filers, or $600 per married couple. The CARES Act can save you hundreds of dollars on your 2020 tax return. Use this guide to navigate the upcoming tax season. Happy filing!
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