Give to Charity to Do Good—and for the Tax Breaks

  • Volunteering time is not always feasible for lawyers, but money often is
  • There is nothing wrong with donating money and enjoying the resulting tax benefits
  • Be sure the organization you choose is tax exempt, and keep excellent records

We all know that volunteering is not only helpful to those people and organizations in need, but has tangible benefits for the giver as well.

We all also know that volunteering requires time, a commodity that most lawyers are short on. Well, lawyers may not have much time, but they certainly have the money. Lawyers with plenty of discretionary cash in their budget would do well to choose a charity, or several charities, to donate to. They can do some good and make a difference—while taking advantage of tax breaks.

A tax professional will be able to advise you on your specific situation and how much of a tax benefit you should expect to receive, but for high earners like lawyers, it’s a safe bet that you’re looking for ways to lower your tax burden. Charitable giving can help, while assisting an organization doing work you believe in.

What organizations would you like to support while reaping tax benefits for your efforts?

When giving money to an organization, make sure it is a qualified tax-exempt organization to get those benefits. Most charities will have 501(3)(c) tax-exempt status, but some organizations, such as religious institutions, count as qualified charities even without the IRS’s 501(3)(c) status. In addition, be sure to maintain proper documentation of your contributions—cancelled checks, letters of acknowledgement, etc.

Ultimately, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving to charity in part—even in large part—with a mind to relieving your tax burden. The money will still be well spent for the good cause you choose, no matter why you chose it. So go ahead: Write a few checks, do some good, and pay a bit less in taxes.

What's Next

Research some charities and choose one, or a few, to support.