Suze Rules on Charitable Donations

Charity, Saving

December 23, 2021

There is no best season for charitable giving. The need is year-round. But for whatever reason, I know many of you tend to focus on charitable giving toward the end of the year. 

That said, I am very aware that many households are struggling to pay their everyday bills, as inflation is causing sharp price increases on many must-haves, from gasoline to milk.  

I hope that those of you whose budgets are extra tight right now will be clear-eyed in your giving this year. As kind and generous as it is to want to donate money, you must stand in your truth. If your household expenses are eating up all your available monthly cash flow, that’s your truth, at least for now.  

What I don’t want is for you to make donations and then need to put some of your household spending on credit cards that you can’t pay back when the statement arrives in January. Or skipping any deposits to your emergency fund. Charity must work for both the recipient and the giver. Paying high credit card interest rates or forgoing putting any money into your emergency fund this month is certainly not an act of kindness to yourself. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t give.  

If there’s a local charity you want to support, check in and ask if you can donate some of your time.  

Or let your family and friends know the gift you most want is for them to make a charitable donation instead. It could be to a cause you care about or one they support. The goal is the same: giving to those who need our support.  

Now, if you can handle making charitable donations this year, that’s great. We all know there is a need. And this year there’s a special tax break I want you to know about.  

Anyone who files an individual federal tax return for the 2021 tax year will be allowed to deduct up to $300 in charitable donations made this year. A married couple that files a joint tax return can deduct up to $600 in 2021 charitable donations. You can claim this tax deduction even if you don’t file an itemized federal tax return. The IRS will allow these charitable tax deductions for 2021 tax returns that claim the standard tax deduction. 

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