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As we enter the giving season, there is an additional reason to be charitable. Congress has enacted a special provision for 2020 that allows more people to deduct up to $300 in donations to qualifying charities this year.
Since the increase in the standard income tax deduction in 2018, only 11% of taxpayers itemize deductions. What this means is fewer taxpayers are taking advantage of the charitable deduction. To both encourage and reward giving in what has been a trying year, Congress created a one-time $300 charitable deduction for people who do not itemize on their tax returns. To qualify, you must give cash (including paying by check or credit card) to a 501(c)(3) charity. Gifts of goods or stock do not qualify.
While $300 may not seem like much, it can make a big difference to smaller charities. And a lot of $300 gifts can add up. One thing that is not clear is whether or not a married couple filing jointly can deduct $600. While it is logical that they should be able to do so, the IRS has not clarified this item just yet.