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This Year, There Is More Incentive to Give

December 23, 2020

When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act became law in March, it broadened charitable tax deduction opportunities. These special 2020 tax provisions are worth reviewing before they expire on December 31, 2020.

First and foremost, the CARES Act allows individuals and couples taking the standard federal income tax deduction to claim an additional charitable federal tax deduction of up to $300 in cash gifts made to charities. This charitable deduction can be taken even if you don't itemize, and the limit increases to $600 for married couples. (This deduction is "above-the-line," which means that the deducted amount is simply subtracted from your 2020 gross income.)

If you do itemize your deductions, note that the CARES Act allows you to offset as much as 100% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for most cash gifts to public charities this year, up from the normal 60%. Charitable gifts made in 2020 above this amount may optionally be carried forward for as long as five years, subject to the usual 60% of AGI deduction limit in years ahead.  

Keep in mind this article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice, so make sure to consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional before modifying your charitable giving strategy.1