Make Doing Good Feel Even Better 

Smart Solutions • October 2014

It's no secret that December is the most popular month for individual charitable donations — a whopping 40 percent of people make sure to contribute before the end of the year.1

Not only is giving to a worthy cause personally satisfying, it can help offset your tax load too.* With the giving season starting soon, here are some ways to get your ducks in a row before tax time rolls around.

1. Deduct Volunteer Expenses
Although you can’t deduct the time you spend helping out the causes closest to your heart, you can deduct any supplies you purchase for fundraising efforts. In addition, the mileage, parking and toll costs spent driving to and from volunteer obligations, such as board meetings, are deductible, too. Note that the mileage deduction rate is lower for this purpose than other mileage deductions. Check with your tax advisor or visit the charitable contributions page on the IRS website for more details.
2. Keep Track With Apps
Today, it's easier than ever to keep records of your donations, especially for used items in good condition given to qualified charities. Intuit's® TurboTax® offers a mobile phone app called ItsDeductible™ that helps you calculate the value of the deduction, plus log cash donations as you make them.
3. Consider Giving Stock
Let's say you’ve been holding on to some stock that doesn't work well with your current portfolio. But selling it could mean that capital gains taxes would wipe out most of your earnings. If you've held the stock for more than a year and it's appreciated, you can donate it for a deduction based on the fair market value of the stock on the date of the gift. This type of donation is more complicated than cash or used goods. Contact your local Commerce Brokerage Services Financial Advisors to review your investments and discuss your charitable-giving strategy, plan and goals. For tax advice, consult a tax advisor.

As you enter the holiday season, be sure to keep these tax deduction tips in mind to make every donation count! And if you have any questions, please contact your tax advisor or your local Commerce Brokerage Services Financial Advisors.

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  • * Always consult with your tax advisor for complete details.
  1. "Four Steps to Maximize Your Charitable Giving Tax Break," Ashlea Ebeling, Forbes , accessed on August 18, 2014
  2. Additional source: "The Cynic’s Guide to Year-End Holiday Donations," Ken Stern, Slate, accessed August 18, 2014
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