Unhappy with your tax refund? Surprised to learn you actually owe more? Now is the time to make changes for the current tax year to avoid a similar outcome next April. Consider charitable giving strategies that offer multiple tax benefits, such as donating appreciated securities or cash directly from an IRA. A cash donation can be the easiest way to donate, but if you don't itemize your taxes, there may be no financial benefit for your generosity.
Starting in 2018, it will become more difficult for taxpayers to benefit from common gifting strategies, as many of the monetary benefits of charitable giving are only available to those who itemize their tax deductions. With the near-doubling of the standard deduction, it's worth considering lesser-known strategies, such as bunching donations, giving appreciated stocks or bonds through a donor-advised fund, and satisfying a required minimum distribution through a direct gift to charity from an IRA (called a qualified charitable distribution). This article has more on which charitable giving strategies offer the best tax benefits.