Taxpayers make New Year's Eve rush to turn in charitable donations

 

It’s not unusual for cars to be waiting bumper to bumper in the donation drop-off line at Goodwill’s Washington Road retail store, said assistant manager Pauline Kirby.

But an expiring financial incentive put some new faces in line this week.

Tuesday marked the last chance taxpayers had to make a donation count as a deduction on 2013 returns, bringing an end to the busiest time of the year for many charitable organizations.

“It’s been wild today,” Kirby said. “Our store stays steady, but these last couple weeks are the busiest. But we love it.”

The bed of Chuck Doolit­tle’s Chevrolet Silverado truck was packed when he pulled through the donation line around noon Tuesday – his fourth trip since last week. He said he and his wife cleared their house after Christ­mas of unwanted clothes, toys, games, a TV and other items in time for the tax deduction deadline.

“Procrastination got me,” he said. “I did wait until last minute, yes. But it’s nice to know I’m getting a little break on my taxes and helping the needy.”

Salvation Army De­vel­opment Director John Sebby said 50 percent of the organization’s donations come in November and December, and the last couple days have been packed.

Sebby said he planned to work late Tuesday, and he had his office phone forwarded to his cellphone to field calls and walk-ins by last-minute donors.

“We’ve had a very nice flurry today of donations,” he said. “The year-end gifts are always big with the Salvation Army, and we want them to know … it really helps.”

Mark Daniels, the president of Rhodes Murphy In­come Tax Service, said there are caveats people must keep in mind on donations.

He said donations made directly to needy individuals or politicians are not tax deductible. Donors can, however, contribute to a church for a tax write-off for the church to help an individual.

Daniels said donations must be made to legitimate organizations identified by the IRS to count as deductions, including church­es, 501(c)3 nonprofits and other groups posted on the IRS Web site.
Donors must provide a written acknowledgement for donations greater than $250. Most organizations will provide a receipt for any gift.

Non-cash donations greater than $500 also require an 8283 form, and all charitable contributions must be itemized on a tax return to be deducted, Daniels said.

April Porterfield, of Evans,
said she made time Tuesday to drop by Goodwill to get a receipt for clothes and toys she cleared from home.

“I almost forgot,” she said. “But whatever you can get (at tax time) helps.”

READ MORE FROM THE IRS ON CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTION RULES

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/index.html

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