There Is No Tax 'Season'

Keeping track of tax-related transactions throughout the year can save you from having to take a whole Saturday or, worse, a weekend to reconstruct the details later, and now is the perfect time to set up a system. For less hectic tax seasons in the future, start with these three basic moves for organizing your charitable contributions:

1. Keep your receipts. File documentation using a folder system labeled to match the categories you'll be using for taxes, such as cash donations, household items and gifts of stock.

2. Transfer records to financial planning software. Enter the information from your folders electronically throughout the year so you're not doing it all at once when April 15 is fast approaching. Doing so will also help you gauge whether to give more at year-end to maximize tax benefits.

3. Don't forget to claim deductions based on travel. Record vehicle mileage and other travel expenses when incurred for charity.

Contact Jackie Peterson at 507-933-7543 or jpeters9@gustavus.edu if you have questions about receiving your entitled benefits when supporting our organization.

Determine the value of donated property with a software program such as ItsDeductible in TurboTax. For property—other than most stocks—worth more than $5,000, you'll need to obtain a professional appraisal. (The appraisal is deductible as a miscellaneous itemized deduction.) Either way, you'll need receipts to document your donations.

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