Turbotax and Charities

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Turbotax and Charities

Postby LarryG » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:19 am

Turbotax required the name, address, date and amount of each cash charitable contribution this year. Entering this took more time than the entire remainder of turbotax. This information did not appear on my tax form and the total was on schedule A.
I decided that next year I would enter all contributions under one name such as "Various Charities of the World" We would keep the name, date, address, and amount with our tax records.
Any problem with this?
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby HueyLD » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:32 am

You need to read IRS Pub. 526 to understand the recordkeeping requirements for charitable contributions. Here is the link http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf .
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby Minot » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:45 am

HueyLD wrote:You need to read IRS Pub. 526 to understand the recordkeeping requirements for charitable contributions. Here is the link http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf .
Note to HueyLD: OP's question was about reporting, not record keeping.

Since Schedule A asks you to report charitable donations as a single line entry, I don't see any problem with your proposed work-around of TT's system, which I assume is set up that way to help you with record keeping. I am not any kind of expert on IRS requirements, though, so take my opinion for what it may or may not be worth.

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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby rkhusky » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:05 pm

While the TT data may be useful for your own records, they aren't valid for IRS purposes.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby HueyLD » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:19 pm

Minot wrote:Note to HueyLD: OP's question was about reporting, not record keeping.

Since Schedule A asks you to report charitable donations as a single line entry, I don't see any problem with your proposed work-around of TT's system, which I assume is set up that way to help you with record keeping. I am not any kind of expert on IRS requirements, though, so take my opinion for what it may or may not be worth.

Minot,

I appreciate your pointing out what the OP was asking. However, I've used several tax software packages, including both professional and retail versions. And every software has more than one input lines for charitable contributions even though one only sees a summary entry on Sch. A.

If the OP's total charitable giving is anything but very small, it is generally a good idea to input the individual charity detail into the tax software. Such entries are very helpful for recordkeeping purposes. Frequently we use a hybrid approach. For example, one can input the detail for each large contribution and combine all small contributions into a separate entry.

After all, it's one's own tax returns and (s)he can choose own input style. However, it would be very helpful if important details exist in the tax returns in the event that one is audited three years down the road and (s)he couldn't remember what was done.

Of course one should still keep the required "physical" records.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby Taz » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 pm

If you import from previous years, I've found some of the information is already there providing a starting point. Also, if you donate goods or transfer stocks, TT does a decent job of walking you through the steps. Of course maintaining the original documentation goes without saying.
The destination matters.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby Duckie » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:10 pm

LarryG, in my TT program, I just put the total cash amount under the charity "Charity" and leave it at that.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby harikaried » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:34 pm

Did it generate a Form 8283? It includes the name and address for the donee organizations there. It seems like this form is only generated if charitable donations are at least $500, but I would guess that Turbotax asks for the addresses first before it knows how much total you've donated.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby grabiner » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:53 pm

harikaried wrote:Did it generate a Form 8283? It includes the name and address for the donee organizations there. It seems like this form is only generated if charitable donations are at least $500, but I would guess that Turbotax asks for the addresses first before it knows how much total you've donated.


Form 8283 is only generated for non-cash contributions. You need to have the records for other contributions if audited, but there is nowhere on the tax form to report the address of the charity to which you wrote the check.

I have always used TurboTax to import from Quicken, so it has records of checks to different charities (but not addresses since I don't store the payee address when I write a check).
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby Garco » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:23 am

I agree that sometimes filling out the charitable contributions page is the most time consuming part of filing the TT form. As for the specific dates, I just put in a generic date for almost all of them, since it doesn't matter. I have a separate worksheet on which I have that information. The other thing that can be a pain is finding an address of the charity or organization that TT will accept! It is trying to link the name of the organization to a specific location. This isn't required for charities that I've contributed to in prior years but when a new one comes up TT may ask for more information.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby SSSS » Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:28 am

I enter everything as one entry for "aosidfoiasjfoiwejfoijadfljf" on a random date.

Many fields in tax software are completely cosmetic and don't actually do anything. For example, on all your various 1099's, there's no point typing in the payer's address, because it doesn't actually do anything. All you need are the payer's name (for your convenience only; makes it easier to review) and relevant dollar amounts.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby LarryG » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:06 am

Thanks to all for their responses. TT will be easier for me next year and hopefully for those who read this thread before they use TT
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby SamB » Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:15 pm

I use Itsdeductable. The first time you have to type in the information for the charity, but after that you just select it from the drop down menu. The charities we donate to do not vary that much from year to year, so it is very convenient. When you finish with the charitable contributions you just initiate the transfer to your TT file within the program.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby RustyShackleford » Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:46 pm

You can just hit "continue" without entering the charity's address. It'll bitch at you once, but just hit "continue" again. If you get audited, hopefully you have a receipt with the address. As others have pointed out, I think TT just gives you the option of entering a bunch of this information so that you can get rid of paper and still have the info.
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Re: Turbotax and Charities

Postby Minot » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:17 pm

SamB wrote:I use Itsdeductable. The first time you have to type in the information for the charity, but after that you just select it from the drop down menu. The charities we donate to do not vary that much from year to year, so it is very convenient. When you finish with the charitable contributions you just initiate the transfer to your TT file within the program.
Another possible option is to do your charitible giving via a donor advised fund, such as Vanguard's https://www.vanguardcharitable.org/ or Fidelity's.http://www.fidelitycharitable.org/giving-account/donors-guide/online-demo.shtml
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