BOSTON (CBS) – Here are more things you can do to lower your tax bill come April 15th.

  • You can only deduct contributions you give to qualified charities. Use the IRS Select Check tool to see if the group you give to is qualified. Remember that you can deduct donations you give to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies. This is true even if Select Check does not list them in its database.
  • Cash is much appreciated as a donation but in order to get the deduction you need to document your contribution. New rules in effect require either a bank record that supports the donation (a cancelled check) or a written statement from the charity that meets tax-law requirements. So those loose dollars you put in the Salvation Army bucket or the church collection basket can’t be counted as a deduction.
  • Make a charitable contribution now using your credit card and you will get the deduction for this year and you’ll pay the bill next year! Use a credit card that pays you a rebate or gives frequent flyer miles or points and it is a win, win. You get the deduction and miles! Most charities are very happy to accept your credit card for donations especially those where individuals want you to sponsor their walk or swim for charity.
  • Donate your old car to a charity. Your deduction will be limited to the amount the charity receives for the car when it’s sold, not its book value. The charity must provide you with a written acknowledgement within 30 days of the sale of the car. Be sure the charity is legit by checking the IRS website. You can call the IRS at 877-829-5500 to find if the charity is listed as an IRS exempt charity.
  • You cannot take a deduction for the time you volunteer at the food bank or the hospital but you can get a deduction for the mileage driving to the food bank or hospital each week at 14 cents a mile.