Tax Breaks & Benefits: How the Gift of Giving Comes Full Circle

The holidays are a time of reflection that inspire multitudes of people to reach out to those who are in need. As the old year ends and a new one begins, we’re reminded of the blessings and benefits we’ve received in the past year, and many of us feel the desire to help others get ahead in the year to come.

Donating to charity is a wonderful way to give back to the people who are the most deserving. Here at Save the Children we feel all children are deserving of good nutrition, good education, and a good start in life. While donating to children certainly comes with the warm fuzzies, there are also more quantifiable benefits to donating to charity – including health benefits and tax benefits. Did you know that giving money to charity provides a tax reduction? The end of the year is a sign that tax season is right around the corner, and in order to qualify for tax deductions for the current calendar year, you must make your yearly giving contributions by December 31st.

If you’re thinking of making a year-end holiday donation, here are three steps to take advantage of the tax benefits of donating to charity.

2-year-old AJ snacks on an orange slice to promote Healthy Choices on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in Clay Country, Kentucky.1. Make Donations Tax Deductible By Researching and Itemizing
The first step to receiving a tax benefit on your donations is to itemize carefully. There’s a specific section of your tax returns that is dedicated to listing your itemized deductions. A helpful tip for itemization is to keep track of each charitable donation you’ve made throughout the year by holding onto any receipts and documentation. A spreadsheet can make this process easier at tax time, especially if you make lots of donations throughout the year.

Secondly, it’s also important to do your research on the charity of your choice. The organization you’re donating to must fall under the guidelines put in place by the IRS in order to qualify for deductions. You can find a full list of qualifying guidelines on the IRS website. You may also want to research the charity on watchdog websites, such as Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Great Nonprofits (spoiler alert: Save the Children has high ratings on all of these sites!).

2. Check Your Charitable Donations Tax Deduction Limits 
Donating a percentage of your income is a great way to receive tax breaks in April; however, there are limits to the number of charitable deductions you can receive. Typically, this number is capped depending on your income. Rates fluctuate each year, depending on the state of the economy at the time. However, limits tend to fall within the 20%-50% threshold of yearly gross income. It’s also important to know that charitable deductions vary widely based on income. This amount is typically averaged around 3%-6% of a person’s adjusted gross income.

3. Save the Date
As mentioned before, contributions must be made before December 31st in the current calendar year in order to qualify for deductions in the following year’s tax season, so make sure your contribution counts! In order for a deduction to qualify, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your donation has to be taken out of your bank account during the current calendar year. For instance, text message contributions (when you text a code that adds a certain amount to your phone bill) count as long as the text was made prior to January 1st.Credit and debit card charges are acceptable as long as the transaction is made by the end of the year, even if they’re not paid before the end of the year. This also applies to checks that are written and postmarked by the end of the year, even if they’re not cashed until after January 1st.

Making a Difference

2017 Hurricane Harvey- Child Friendly SpaveAs you get into the spirit of giving this holiday season, take a moment to ensure that your donations are contributing the greatest benefit for the causes you care about most. The gift of giving always comes full circle and generosity can be infectious.

If you’re hoping to contribute to a good cause before the end of the year, please consider the children around the world who need your help. Not only would your donation benefit countless children, but you’ll also receive the added benefit of a legitimate tax deduction. With your donation, in 2017, Save the Children reached more than 155 million children, including nearly 50 million children directly. We worked in 120 countries, including the United States, where we reached 237,000 children.

Now is your chance to make a difference in the world around you. Get involved and join the cause. Each child around the world deserves a bright future. Donate today to help give a healthy start in life to the children around the world who need it.

The Health Benefits You’ll Receive by Donating to Charity

The season of giving is upon us once again and it’s time to jump back into the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The gift of giving is a wonderful feeling. It’s a happy moment seeing the smile on your loved one’s face as they open each gift you’ve picked out just for them. However ,this isn’t the only reason it’s good to give to charity. Studies show that giving has added health benefits for the giver. Moreover, there are a variety of ways that those who give charitable donations can reap added (and surprising) health benefits while helping those in need.

Whether we are offering emotional support for loved ones, volunteering our time to assist an organization, or donating money to charity, there are more ways to enjoy the health benefits of giving than simply shopping for the perfect gift. Giving to a charity may make you feel good, and also help boost your physical health and mental well-being.

Check out these reasons that demonstrate how giving is good for you!

Improved Self-Esteem & Self-Worth Are Health Benefits of Charitable Giving

Donating is a selfless act. One of the major positive effects of donating money to charity is simply feeling good about giving. Being able to give back to those in need helps you achieve a greater sense of personal satisfaction and growth, it feels good to help others. Instead of putting money toward a gift someone may look at once and never use again, you can donate that money to a charity in need on your loved one’s behalf or send a symbolic gift (check out Save the Children’s gift catalog for ideas). This leads to a feeling of self-worth knowing that you’re offering much-needed resources to a great cause for those in need. As an added benefit, you and your loved one will both feel good about giving back to others.

Positive Moods and Low Depression Rates Due to The Psychology of Generosity

With positive self-esteem and self-worth comes a genuinely more optimistic mood and outlook on life as even more health benefits of giving. Studies show that donating money to charity has been proven to have a positive impact on the brain. These effects are similar to activities people usually associate with joy and happiness such as eating, exercising, or affectionate gestures like giving someone a hug. Different chemical reactions can lead to an ongoing pattern of improved mental health and well-being. Keep this in mind the next time you’re having a bad day and need something uplifting to draw from. There are many advantages of helping others, as donating can help better somebody else’s life and lead to a healthier you.

Longer Life Expectancy Is a Result of The Psychology of Giving to Therapy

As much joy as the holiday season brings, it also brings with it a great deal of stress. It’s no surprise that stress, depression, and anxiety can lead to a number health issues, headaches, insomnia, and high blood pressure (which affects 30% of all Americans). One of the reasons why giving is good for you is that it acts as a way to de-stress your everyday life. With the simple act of charitable giving, not only are you assisting the world as a whole, but you receive the added benefit of a more relaxed holiday season. As an added bonus, some studies show that the gift of giving and unselfishness is an altruistic personality trait that is closely aligned with people who live longer.

Improving the World Community

We’re all trying to make the world a better place. The holidays are a time where we can appreciate the people and causes we hold dear. One person’s charitable giving can help the greater good of humanity, positively impacting more people than a giver may ever comprehend their donation could reach. In many parts of the world, others are not so fortunate. Charitable communities help foster a happier and healthier world by improving the quality of life for those around us as a whole.

Make a Difference

The gift of giving always comes full circle. Giving is receiving and generosity is contagious. So, the next time you’re thinking about treating yourself, instead remember the positive benefits on your health that donating to charity can bring about, as well as the positive change you can help bring about around the world. Why not start now? Get involved and join the cause. We believe every child around the world deserves a bright future. Make a donation to Save the Children today to help give a healthy start in life to the children who need it most this holiday season.