Sunday, January 04, 2009

a recap of last minute activities from 12/31/2008

I spent a large amount of time over the final days of 2008 finding new charities and donating quite a bit of unused personal possessions to charity.

We have always been very aggressive at donating and giving away as much of our unused, unwanted and neglected (but still usable) possessions as possible. I suppose it's the most efficient form of recycling as little additional energy is required to change the things we're giving away.

Of course there's also a financial benefit. Good, usable items can have their market value deducted from your income taxes. A the full value of cash contributions, as well.

With my accountant's advice I always document what I give, usually with photos and detailed spreadsheets - if possible I include links to websites that validate the market value I claim.

This year my initial tax analysis determined I'd owe about $6,000 in federal taxes for 2008, so the contributions were quite helpful in trimming half of that number down.

One interesting consideration, a friend asked me if I'd like to donate their furniture and take the tax benefit, as it wouldn't improve their tax situation - I'm not sure if this is legal - I assume it is (I donate a gift I received), but it certainly is interesting.

The other big activities is to start collecting year end statements for mortgage debt, taxes, brokerage accounts, bank accounts, etc.... You can usually count on being sent 1099 and 1098 statements in the mail, but they don't always come on time.

Regards, makingourway

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