Tensions stemming from the U.S.-China trade war escalated sharply over the last few days, with much happening as Asian markets were shut down for the weekend.China Economyread more
The latest round of tariff announcements in the last few days means that by the end of the year, essentially all Chinese goods exported to the U.S. will be subject to duties.China Economyread more
Futures fell after Trump said the U.S. will raise tariffs on more than $500 billion worth of Chinese imports, increasing trade tensions.Marketsread more
Clouding the G-7 gathering, which represents the world's major industrial economies, are the tit-for-tat tariffs between Washington and Beijing.Politicsread more
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung says the Singapore government has been preparing for the challenge of an aging workforce "for the past 20 years."Employmentread more
World leaders, environmental groups and celebrities have publicly decried the vast swaths of forest being destroyed by the fires.World Newsread more
Carl Medlock used to work at Tesla. Now he's one of the few people in the U.S. that can fix the company's original Roadster electric vehicles.Technologyread more
Hours after President Trump said Sunday he had "second thoughts" about escalating the trade war with China, the White House sought to explain his remark because it was...Politicsread more
President Donald Trump said that he would have a major trade deal with U.K. after it leaves the European Union.Politicsread more
Despite Kudlow's expectations, China said on Saturday that it strongly opposes Trump's decision to levy additional tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese goods, and warned...Politicsread more
President Donald Trump said Sunday he was not happy after North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles over the weekend.Politicsread more
After back-to-back storms pummeled Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, many people upped their charitable contributions for 2017. Now it's time to reap the tax benefit.
Daniel Borochoff, president of CharityWatch.org, predicts donations could surpass last year's record high, driven primarily by overall economic growth, although the recent disasters will also play a role.
"The giving climate will be heightened," he said.
And while taxes might not have been at the forefront when providing aid, those charitable donations to qualified nonprofit groups are tax-deductible if you itemize your return instead of taking the standard deduction.
Generally, you can deduct up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income in charitable contributions, but deductions can be limited to 30 percent of your income in some cases.
If you've volunteered your time, you can deduct the entire amount of your mileage, parking, tolls, train or bus ticket and even airfare if your travel was to exclusively pitch in at a recognized charitable organization.
If you've made a noncash gift, such as food, first aid or supplies, you should keep a receipt of the donation, a note of the organization's name, and the date and fair market value of all noncash goods, in order to get the deduction come April.
If the value of a non-cash gift is more than $5,000, like a car, you will also need a certified appraisal. Then you can deduct the fair market value or appraisal value, whichever is higher, according to Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax expert at TurboTax.
There are a few tricks, too, when it comes to the tax benefits of giving assets to charity, like avoiding capital gains tax on investments by giving stocks or other items that have grown in value.
High-income earners, in particular, should consider a noncash donation specifically because of the tax advantages, according to John Voltaggio, managing director at Northern Trust.
For example, if you have shares of Coca-Cola stock (which is up more than 10 percent year to date) and donate it, you don't have to pay taxes on the gain, but you will still get credit for the deduction equal to the current fair market value.
That way, "they are eliminating being taxed on the sale of the stock," Greene-Lewis said. "They won't be hit with capital gains and they get to take the deduction." (Although in the case of stocks, certain rules apply to the required holding period.)
Further, if the GOP's recently proposed tax plan is passed, the deduction for charitable contributions may be more valuable this year than it will be under the new code.
Lowering the top tax rate would mean that a charitable deduction would be worth about 35 cents on the dollar if the rate is cut to 35 percent, compared to 40 cents on the dollar now.
Voltaggio recommends considering accelerating your donations to get the current tax benefit or using a donor-advised fund, which allows you to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax break and then recommend grants from the fund to your favorite charities over time.
"Even if rates don't go down, there might be a particular reason to give this year — like helping disaster victims — but from an economic perspective it also makes sense," he said.