By Jason Alderman
Like many other economic measures, charitable donations in the U.S. have yet to bounce back to pre-recession levels. According to Giving USA’s Annual Report on Philanthropy, charitable contributions totaled $298.4 billion in 2011 – up 4 percent from 2010, but still 11 percent below 2007 levels.
The vast majority of those contributions (73 percent) came from individuals, demonstrating that even during tough economic times, people still find ways to support organizations that help those less fortunate than themselves.
Because half of all donations typically are made between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, this is a good time to highlight precautions you can take to ensure your gift has the biggest possible impact, both on the people you want to help and on your own bottom line; also to remind seniors about a tax policy that has changed since last year:
Contribution eligibility. If you itemize expenses on your 2012 income taxes, any charitable contributions you plan to deduct must be made by year’s end. That means either charging your credit or debit card or postmarking a check by midnight on December 31, 2012.
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