Those End-Of-The-Year Charitable Donations May Not Help Your Tax Bill

PHOTO: Changes in the tax code mean that charitable donations may no longer be deducted, which could come as a surprise to many taxpayers. CREDIT: Andrew Harnik/AP



New changes to tax law will make deducting charitable giving from next year’s taxes more difficult for taxpayers. This has come as an unwelcome surprise to many who counted on end-of-the-year donations to lower their overall taxes and to charities that counted on those donations.

For the past 30 years, Pam Green of Elkhart, Ind., has kept meticulous records and receipts of her donations — from clothing to Goodwill to furniture for Habitat For Humanity to large December donations to her favorite churches.

“I have a file,” Green said, sitting at her dining room table, waving an imaginary folder in her hands, “and every Jan. 1, I mark it, like this year, I marked it ‘2018 taxes,’ and so every time, if I made a run to Goodwill, I got a receipt, and I had a running total. I itemized everything.”

But around Thanksgiving, she got what she calls “frustrating” news. Her financial planner told her that she would need to take the standard deduction on her taxes next year. The deduction would be higher, and she would no longer be able to write off her charitable donations.

Green said she depended on these donations to help lower her taxes. She also said she always waited until the very end of December to make these donations because she was never sure how much she would need to donate to get her over the standard deduction.