Tax Organizers

As we approach the end of the year this is the time we start to prepare tax organizers to send out to each of our clients. Tax organizers are a great tool for gathering all the information you will need to help us prepare and complete your 2014 taxes. Clients utilize their tax organizers in different ways – some as a reminder of what they need to gather ie as a checklist while others complete it in detail. You should utilize the tax organizer however works best for your needs. From experience we can share with you that clients who utilize a tax organizer find they remember more regarding deductions and income which in return allows us to complete the most accurate and detailed tax return possible.

Traditionally we send a paper copy and will continue to do so for those clients who prefer that method. Last year we started working towards a more environmentally friendly option of an electronic pdf tax organizer and we are happy to provide that option for those who are interested. If you would like an electronic option, just send us an email and we’ll get you set up.

Charitable Deductions

In our family, it has become a tradition of sorts to watch Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase immediately following Thanksgiving. It marks the start of the Christmas season for us. It serves as a hilarious reminder that in a season full of love and family and high expectations, it is so important to embrace the true essence of Christmas.

Besides all the holiday celebrations, December is also the last month of the year which means it’s the final time of the year to make charitable donations for the 2014 year. In the newsletter this month you’ll find a great article talking about several tax rules you should know before you give. I’ll cover just a bit of that in this blog so be sure to read the newsletter for the other tax rules.

One really important tax rule is that you will need to get an acknowledgement from each charity for your deductible donations if you want to deduct any gift of monies on your tax return. Most charities are on top of this – if you donated to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, for example, you also received an email thanking you for your donation and providing the documentation needed to print and provide to your CPA to mark this donation as a tax deduction.

Please note that if you donate household/clothing items to a charity such as Goodwill or a similar charitable organization, you will also need a donation receipt. Take sure the value of the items donated is listed on that paper receipt and be sure to keep all receipts/documentation in the same spot so you know where to find them when it’s time to gather your tax documents. If you donate clothing and/or household items to charity they generally must be in good used condition to claim a tax deduction.

As for whom you can donate to and claim it as a tax deduction, you must donate to a qualified charity. This includes churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and specific government agencies as well as certain charities. If you are not sure if the group you give to is a qualified charity, ask us.
Be sure to read the Watson CPA newsletter for additional information. We hope you are enjoying a month full of celebrations and family and friends. Between all the hustle and bustle, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy, jolly holiday season.

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