Feeling generous?

The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of taxpayers out of work, putting a strain on charitable organizations. To provide some relief, as part of the CARES Act, Congress made a temporary – but important – change to the charitable giving laws.

Now, taxpayers can donate up to $300 in cash to qualifying charitable organizations and claim a charitable deduction – even if you don’t separately itemize deductions. In a post-Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) world, about 85% of taxpayers claim the standard deduction, leaving those who give to charity without a deduction. Under the new law, for 2020, you can claim the standard deduction and still benefit from a charitable deduction.

Only cash or cash-equivalent gifts are eligible for the $300 deduction (no personal property, stocks, or art). Additionally, donations to donor-advised funds (DAFs) do not qualify.

And, of course, the regular rules regarding charitable giving still apply. You must donate to a qualifying charitable organization (no individuals, no matter how deserving), and you must keep good records.

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.

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