The Internal Revenue Service issued a news release this week geared toward reminding taxpayers that, as the tax year comes to a close, donations to public charities can still be made as late as December 31, and such donations will reduce 2002 taxes for taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Schedule A of their federal tax return.
Taxpayers are reminded that individual gifts of $250 or more must be documented with a written acknowledgement from the charitable organization. The acknowledgement should include the amount of cash or a description of a non-cash item donated, as well as a statement indicating that the donee does not provide goods or services as consideration for the contribution. Taxpayers who make property donations that exceed $5,000 must get an appraisal for their donation.
Taxpayers who make a donation with a credit card may take the deduction in the year in which the charge is made, even if the credit card bill isn't paid until the following year. Likewise, checks written and given to charities before midnight December 31, 2002 qualify for 2002 deductions even if the charity doesn't cash the check until after the first of the year.
Donations of time and services do not qualify as charitable contributions, however mileage driven for charitable purposes may be deducted at 14¢ per mile.