‘Tis The Season For Charitable Tax Deductions 2018

Since 2016, I’ve made the commitment to donate 10% of my net income each year. I do 10% because I grew up around very religious folk and felt like, though I’m not religious myself, I wanted to have something akin to a secular tithe. An amount that felt “moral” but not like I was giving away the farm. Something that was just the right amount of painful. Here is a link to my 2017 post.

In 2018 we continued to donate 10% of my net income, but not our joint income (though we will be contributing based on joint in 2019). We donated much more in 2017 than in 2018 because I “prepaid” my balance for tax optimization purposes due to the Republican’s new law. However, we did get our wedding guests to donate a few thousand dollars to our favorite charities rather than buy us expensive presents, which is not reflected in the below numbers.

Here are the areas we donated to in 2017 and 2018:

donations.png

We don’t plan at the beginning of the year how much we’ll donate to each area, but we think this is more or less a decent reflection of my values. Note that we donated much more in 2017 than in 2018 because I “prepaid” my balance for tax optimization purposes due to the Republican’s new law.

Here are the organizations represented in each bucket:

  • Food Security. This is for the small, local food rescue organization that donates fruits and vegetables to seniors, people with disabilities, and other food programs in our area. This is money I feel “proudest” to donate to each year (see: my deep emotional connection with food).
  • Immigration. Lots of money to RAICES because we as a country continue to jail and torture migrants in droves. Honestly, I don’t understand why the press continues to fuck around about the internal politics of the administration when children are literally dying under ICE custody. I am deeply ashamed for how impotent I feel on this issue. Money doesn’t feel like enough.
  • Environment. I used to divvy this bucket up amongst a lot of different environmental advocacy groups, but nowadays I just dump it all to the National Resource Defense Council.
  • Criminal Justice. Local (state) bail fund.
  • Civil Rights. Local LGBTQ+ advocacy organization.

What we didn’t donate to this year:

  • Brother’s education. He graduated and while I gave him a little money to celebrate that, there are no more tuition/room/board etc payments going forward. Woohoo!
  • Political organizations. I feel somewhat guilty about this but, honestly, every time I thought about donating for the 2018 cycle I kept thinking (1) Dems already had landslide levels of funding and (2) the money would be better put to use targeting migrant issues. So that’s what happened there.

What is your charitable giving philosophy? How much did you donate in 2018 and to what organizations? 

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6 thoughts on “‘Tis The Season For Charitable Tax Deductions 2018

  1. I’m awful about donating. I always mean to, then something comes up that freaks me out and makes me clamp down on money. It’s my goal to be much more giving in 2019. Hopefully, now that I don’t have an extra person to account for, it’ll be a lot easier to find the funds.

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    1. For me I found setting aside a predertmined amount each year and just committing to it has been helpful to force myself to give more. I used to donate based on urge and felt bad every time I didn’t end up doing so to conserve money. Having the pot of money already set aside made it a lot easier for me.

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      1. This is what we’ve done too! We set aside a % of all gross income that comes in and don’t let ourselves budge from that. I do like using a Donor Advised Fund because then the money is definitely going to donations and you can’t change that. Also, it’s fewer credit card transactions to keep track of. We do hold a bit back for random one-off requests through other channels though and we were debating not doing any DAF-donating until 2020 since we will actually itemize then and we won’t in 2019.

        I’ve been really enjoying having a larger amount to donate this year than in the past! (We upped the %.)

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        1. The big thing holding me back on DAF are the fees (plus the fact that we give away the 10% every year, and don’t particularly want to hold any back). I think we might end up going the DAF route though once our non-retirement investments grow large enough. It’d be nice to fund via brokerage transfers to avoid the capital gains, but we’re not quite at that point yet.

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  2. Our goal was to increase our giving by 50% this year and we were having a little trouble sticking to that in the middle of the year but we ultimately supported: Donors Choose and local school fundraising, the public library, CASA, DAV, a couple of animal rescues, our local homeless shelter, and the Pine Ridge reservation. I could have sworn we also donated to Raices but I can’t find the receipt for them so maybe I need to squeeze in one more donation to them just in case.

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