Last minute tax tips before the new year

Cropped Photo: David Boeke / CC BY-SA 2.0
Cropped Photo: David Boeke / CC BY-SA 2.0


TOPEKA (KSNT) — Out with the old, and in with the new. As you’re making space for some of those gifts you got over the holidays, if you find yourself with clothing, jewelry, electronics or other items you no longer need, there’s no better time to donate, than now.

Experts say you’ll be glad you did come tax time.

“As soon as we clean something out, we try to bring it by. God’s Storehouse has a wonderful program going on and we really want to support it and support the community,” said donor Karen Nelson.

Not only is it good for the community, but you can write every donation off on your taxes. Volunteers at God’s Storehouse say they see a lot of people doing just that.

“Since it’s the end of the year, we’ve just been seeing a real increase in donations. Everybody’s trying to get rid of a lot of stuff for tax purposes,” said Nate Kloos.

You many not think a few books, clothes, or an old TV would be worth much, but,

“If you’re in the 10 percent tax bracket that means for every thousand you give you get 100 dollars off your tax bill,” said tax accountant Peggy Beasterfeld.

So those donations can really add up, but you have to keep track.

“If you have a lot of stuff laying around that you don’t want, list it. If it’s big stuff, take pictures. Keep your list and try to value it,” said Beasterfeld.

Receipts help, but you have to itemize.

That might seem like a lot of extra work, but accountants say those details matter.

“If it ever comes down to an audit, they’re going to need that list. Pictures help, but the list is important,” said Beasterfeld.

There are several other ways you can cash in if you act fast.

Beasterfeld suggests selling any stocks that might be losing to offset any capital gains you’ve had throughout the year.

You can also pay any college tuition balances in full or purchase efficiency improvements for your home to have the tax credit apply in April.

It doesn’t matter when those improvements are installed.

Bottom line, you’ll reap the savings, “as long as it’s before the first of the year,” said Beasterfeld.

If you plan on making an itemized list of donations, you’re supposed to add a value at fair market price for each item.

If you’re not sure what something might be worth, click here to see a valuation guide put together by Goodwill.

>>Our sister station KSNT first reported this story

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