Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tax-Deductible Giving

It's that time of the year, again, everybunny! TAX TIME! Take advantage of the charities you give!
This is the government's way of rewarding you for giving to charities - somewhat redeemable of them, don't you think?

I've compiled a list of things you might not need/want anymore, but hate to just "throw it out", and where you can donate them to. Make sure the organization you give to is a 501c3 org, or the IRS won't accept your charity as a tax deduction. Also, check out this site, Excess Access that matches your items to a charity that needs it for you!

Appliances - Check your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for their donation guidelines. Also, see if your local after-school programs need something, or your local homeless shelter.

Binoculars, Backpacks - The American Birding Association is always needing items to track birds and gather information about them and the environment, so you will see them again in this list!

Cosmetics - These need to be unopened and unused, of course! But check your local rape crisis center, or center for abused women. They are always needing these kinds of items to give a boost to those who have been through hardships. My local shelter is The Dekalb Rape Crisis Center in Decatur, GA.

Digital Cameras - The American Birding Association needs these!

Educational Tools - such as nice calculators or computers can be donated through The Christina Foundation which refurbs and places your item to schools who need them.

Food - canned and boxed goods are always need for your local food pantry. Avoid sugary foods, like Lucky Charms, etc. Those hold no nutritional value. Stick with things like peanut butter, granola, oatmeal or canned soups, etc.

Heifer - Ok, you obviously don't have extra cows walking around (or do you?), but I HAD to fit this into my list. Heifer International. It's a great organization in which you donate money to purchase livestock for villages. This is invaluable to them, increasing their quality of life. You can give these as gifts to others, what a great thing to do to make your loved ones feel like they've made a small difference in the world :)

Ink Cartridges - I thought this was interesting - Staples gives 1-2 dollars to non-profit orgs whenever an old ink cartridge is turned into them. So find a local charity who uses this program. In my case, Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoptions does.

Mobile Phone - Donate your old cell phone to the Wireless Foundation, which refurbs them and gives to abused women who need them to call 911.

Service - Are you a hairdresser, a tattoo artist (like me?), a car washer, etc.? Do you own or work at a retail store that has gift certificates? You can donate a gift certificate to a service or product you provide for fundraisers. Ask the charity for an in-kind letter as a receipt for your service!

Technology - your items can be donated at the World Computer Exchange.

Tithe - if you donate with checks or direct deposit, most churches will be able to give you a receipt quarterly, twice a year, or annually that is tax deductible.

Vehicle - if you have a clunker that you can't/don't want to sell but it's still too nice to junk, consider donating it to your local high school - they may need something to fix up as a teaching tool. Also, check out Kidney Cars and Cars for Homes, a Habitat for Humanity car donation program.