It’s easy to feel hopeless when the world seems to be unraveling before our eyes, but instead of getting sucked into hours of negative news (aka doomscrolling) why not focus on what you can control? Taking action can help relieve feelings of despair, while also having an impact on some pretty important causes. There’s even science behind the warm fuzzies of giving, as neuroscience suggests that empathy and generosity can boost our oxytocin levels by up to 50%.
If you’re looking for ways to do something good for your community, consider making a tax-deductible charitable contribution. Here are a handful of the many causes that are worth your dime.
Consider Making a Tax-deductible Donation to These Causes in 2022
Ukrainians continue to bravely defend against Russian missile strikes, shellings, and other attacks against peaceful civilians. Over 1.5 million people have already fled to seek safety in neighboring countries, with more to follow. While it may be tempting to send supplies, experts agree cash is what Ukraine needs most right now.
World Central Kitchen provides emergency food relief, serving fresh meals to devastated communities around the world. That includes people affected by deadly floods in Brazil, cyclones in Madagascar and most recently, refugees in and around Ukraine.
Doctors Without Borders responds to medical and humanitarian needs for crises around the world, and they’re currently active in Ukraine.
Colorado Wildfire Relief
2021 was an extremely harsh year for Colorado wildfires. The blaze that swept through Denver and Boulder on December 30, 2021 forced tens of thousands of citizens to evacuate, and destroyed many structures. If you want to give back within your own community, 5280.com shared a list of local organizations accepting donations, including Boulder County Wildfire Fund, Humane Society of Boulder Valley, and local chapters of the Red Cross.
Cancer Care and Research
Cancer affects people and families of all ages, from childhood all the way to retirement. The American Institute for Cancer Research is leading the charge in cancer prevention and cancer survivorship, through studies and research grants.
Locally, Cancer League of Colorado is leading the fight against cancer and supporting cancer research. With no paid staff and no offices, Cancer League of Colorado is unique—all operating expenses are covered by membership dues.
As financial advisors, it should come as no surprise that we’re passionate about financial literacy. We believe financial literacy starts from a young age, which is why we love the Young Americans Center for Financial Education. This non-profit teaches youth how to earn, make, and manage their money by focusing on free enterprise, global economics, entrepreneurship and banking. It’s also the only bank in the entire world specifically designed for kids.
Junior Achievement is another great organization working to empower the next generation. They create and deliver free lessons on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, work readiness, and more to kids in elementary, middle, and high school.
Black Lives Matter
Protests and demonstrations may have died down for the time being, but Black Lives Matter is a movement, not a moment. Black Americans (and Latinx and other people of color) still face racial and economic injustice daily and in many forms.
Americans for Immigrant Justice is an award-winning non-profit law firm that fights for justice for immigrants through a combination of direct representation, impact litigation, advocacy and outreach.
Since 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) has been fighting for racial justice and the expansion of equality for all Americans through litigation, advocacy, and public education.
We’re animal lovers here at Wealth Legacy Institute, as are many of our retirement planning clients. Did you know you can even factor your pets into your estate planning?
If you fancy yourself an animal activist, Best Friends Animal Society is a leader in the no-kill movement, whose primary goal is to make all U.S. shelters no-kill by 2025. In addition to advocacy and education work, they run a sanctuary in Kanab, Utah for dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, potbellied pigs, farm animals, and wildlife.
Other worthy and well-known animal charities include Austin Pets Alive, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the Marine Mammal Center.
This list is just a start—there are literally thousands of organizations doing meaningful work that could benefit from your donation.
How to Claim Tax Deductible Donations on Your Tax Return
Ordinary people like you can make a difference through charitable giving. And as a bonus, you can save money on your taxes, which can be especially helpful for retirees.
In general, you can deduct up to 60% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). For 2021, however, you can deduct contributions equal to 100% of AGI. In general, contributions exceeding the limit may be deducted through a process called a carryover, which spreads out the deductions over up to five years of tax returns.
Another change for 2021 was that you can deduct up to $300 if you're single or married filing separately (or $600 if you're married filing jointly) for cash contributions made to qualifying charities—without having to itemize. So far, it doesn’t look like these benefits will carry over into 2022. But here are some general things to keep in mind:
Make sure you donate to a qualifying charity. For starters, the organization must be a registered 501c3. You can use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool to confirm that a charitable organization is eligible for deductions.
Document your contributions. Keep records of all your donations, no matter how small the amount. Retain a receipt from the charity as well as a bank or credit card statement. You’ll also need written documentation from the charity for and donations of cash or property worth more than $250.
Be prepared to itemize at tax time. Apart from the $300 or $600 “above the line” provision for 2021, claiming deductions for charitable donations means you’ll need to itemize them on your annual tax return. You can do so using Schedule A.
Don’t forget about volunteering. You can deduct expenses strictly related to volunteering for a qualified organization, such as mileage driven to events, volunteering sessions, or to donate items.
Tax strategy and planning is a part of a well-rounded retirement plan. To see where you stand (and improve your retirement readiness) get the 2022 Essential Retirement Guide.
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