Take Advantage of Two Tax Credits for Charitable Organizations

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COURTESY OF PHOTOSPIN
  • Courtesy of PhotoSpin
Yesterday I wrote about the tax credit donations you can give to public schools. Here are two more tax credits, each for $200—$400 for a couple. You can take all three credits and get it all back—100 percent of it—so long as you owe at least as much in state income taxes as you give. These two contributions have to be completed by this Thursday, Dec. 31. Most organizations let you pay by credit card online, so you can take care of business in a few minutes, in the time it takes to enter your information. (If you're wondering, you don't have to itemize your deductions to use the tax credits.)

One of the tax credit donations can be made to what used to be called charitable organizations that help the working poor, but now it seems they're simply being called charitable organizations. The other is for foster care charitable organizations. How do you know which organizations qualify? The Arizona Department of Revenue lists them in a List of Qualifying Charitable Organizations and a List of Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations. You can give $200—$400 for a couple—to each category. Some organizations fit both categories—they're highlighted in blue on the Charitable Organizations list — and if you want, you can use both tax credits for one of those organizations. 

Repeat: Both of these have Dec. 31 deadlines. That's this Thursday! If your state income tax comes to $600 or more—$1200 for a couple—you can give the maximum amount to all three, the public school and the two charitable organization tax credits. Otherwise, you have to do some picking and choosing.

Favorite Charity Note: Since I'm always giving my opinion here, let me say that, of all the worthy charitable organizations in Southern Arizona, my personal favorite is the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. It's about putting food on the table for people who need it, and it's branched out to community gardening and farmers' markets as well. If you want a big bang for your buck, every dollar you give is multiplied many times in the amount of food it provides. And this year, there's a 2-to-1 match of your contribution. According to the website, "Thanks to this matching challenge, every dollar you donate can now help us distribute enough food for 12 meals." Such a deal!

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