NEW YORK, NY -- Are you in the holiday spirit of giving? The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today issued tips to help businesses and individuals better understand tax rules related to year-end charitable contributions. The Department also reminded residents of other states that making a charitable donation to a New York charity does not define them as a resident of New York State for income tax purposes.
“Charitable giving empowers you to help the very people and organizations you want to assist or support – and those needed contributions generally will help you lower your tax bill, too,” said Commissioner Jerry Boone. “We also want residents of other states to know that they can contribute to New York charities with the full knowledge that such a contribution isn’t taken into account when determining their domicile for New York’s personal income tax purposes.”
Tip 1 – Make sure you claim the contribution in the right year. For example, if you made a contribution this year, you must “write off” that contribution on your 2015 tax return. This is true even if you use a credit card now and don’t pay the bill until next year.
Tip 2 – All charitable contributions must be made to a qualified charity. A list of qualified charitable organizations is maintained by both the Internal Revenue Service and the New York State Attorney General’s office.
Tip 3 – When you give a monetary donation to a qualified charity, whether by cash, credit card, check, or payroll deduction, make sure to get a written statement from the charity. Keep it in your tax files regardless of the size of the donation.
Tip 4 – Donations of certain household items and clothing often qualify as a write-off, as long as those items are in good used condition. Here, too, a record of the contribution showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution is a must for your tax files. What’s deductible as a charitable contribution? Find a quick check list in this IRS publication.
Tip 5 – Live outside of New York but want to give to a New York-based charity? Making a charitable donation to a New York charity doesn’t determine a person’s domicile—his or her permanent and principal home for legal purposes.
“That’s a myth I debunk at every opportunity,” Commissioner Boone added.
Rather, the main factors for determining domicile include: time spent in New York, employment or business connections, close family ties, the occupancy of residential property, and the location of items of personal significance, such as a pet or other cherished possessions.