Tips for charitable deductions

Fall is a season when many people are cleaning out garages, basements and closets. If you are not having a tag sale and some items look too good for the dump, consider contributing them to charity. You can get a tax deduction for whatever the item is worth.

When you contribute noncash items to charity, be sure to retain your receipts. Also keep a list of items donated and an estimate of their value.

If you are considering a large cash contribution, a better option may be a gift of appreciated stock to a charity. You will be able to deduct the fair market value of the securities, without having to recognize the increase in value as a gain on your tax return. If you take the cash you intended to contribute and move those funds to your investment account, you'll be left with more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

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