If you're a middle-class taxpayer, the new tax law passed by Congress last year may make it harder for you to support your favorite charities.
That's because the standard deduction has nearly doubled, from $6,350 to $12,000. For many taxpayers, it may no longer make sense to itemize their deductions -- and that means they may not get a tax break for their charitable contributions.
But there are still a couple of ways to make charitable donations count. In an interview on NPR's 'Marketplace,' Washington Post columnist Allan Sloan offered a couple of suggestions.
Taxpayers over the age of 70 1/2 who have retirement funds are required to take some money out of those funds: the "required minimum distribution." And that money is taxable.
But Sloan suggests that they instruct the fund administrator to divert some of that money directly to their favorite charities. That reduces the amount that's taxed, effectively giving the taxpayer a break.
If you're not old enough to take advantage of this strategy (or if you don't have a retirement account), Sloan offers the alternative of a donor-advised fund.
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