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A Great Time to Make a Difference

As we digest today’s sobering headlines, conflicting reports and startling predictions related to COVID-19, it’s easy to feel rather powerless. Across the globe, researchers are scrambling to learn about the disease and leaders are struggling to protect their citizens’ health and their nations’ economies. On an individual level, our normal routines have been shattered, and we wonder what the future will hold. 

In these uncertain times, the compulsion to hoard money, food or even toilet paper is natural. Building up our reserves may restore a small sense of control. Certainly, it is prudent to save more and stock up on some things. But giving may actually do more to ease feelings of helplessness. Instead of dwelling on what we can’t change, giving focuses on the difference we can make.

Needs are particularly great now. Many nonprofits, particularly those that provide safety net services, are facing the greatest demand they’ve seen. Increased requests are coming at the same time organizations are unable to hold normal fundraising events, some donors are unable to give and others are supporting candidates in this year’s political campaigns.

The good news is, the CARES Act, the $2 trillion stimulus package President Trump signed on March 27, increases federal tax deductions for qualifying charitable donations. Under CARES, even taxpayers who do not itemize on their return (an estimated 85 percent of us) can deduct up to $300 for charitable cash contributions.1 To ensure an organization qualifies, enter its Employer Identification Number at apps.irs.gov/app/eos/.  

CARES also removes the limit on deductions for charitable cash gifts if you itemize. Previously, you could not deduct more than 60 percent of your adjusted gross income. Under CARES guidelines, you may donate your entire taxable income to qualified organizations and not owe federal taxes on that income.2 Contributions to private foundations or donor advised funds do not apply.

Contact our office if you need help weighing how much to donate to your favorite cause or to schedule a joint meeting with your other professional advisors.

Johnson Financial and its financial professionals do not provide tax advice. Coordinate with your tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

1https://taxfoundation.org/standard-deduction-itemized-deductions-current-law-2019/

2https://www.forbes.com/sites/morgansimon/2020/04/08/now-is-a-great-time-to-give-new-charitable-rules-incentivize-generosity-during-covid-19/#61dadf266d2e