April 15 is Fast Approaching. Mistakes to Avoid in the Rush.

Six mistakes, actually. This mistake resonated with me because, well, I’ve made it:

Mistake 6: Not Realizing That Stock Can Be Donated Directly to Charity

Cutting a check or hauling your old clothes to Goodwill isn’t the only last-minute way to make tax-deductible charitable contributions. According to Crystal Faulkner, a partner with MCM CPAs and Advisors in Cincinnati, donating stock that you’ve held for more than a year directly to an organization allows you to take a deduction for its full fair market value.

Let’s say, for example, that you wanted to make a pledge of $5,000 to your child’s school. If you sold $5,000 worth of stock in order to make the contribution, you’d have to pay taxes on any gains you realized, then contribute the after-tax proceeds. “But if you instead contribute the security directly to the charity, you are able to deduct the fair market value on the date of the gift as an itemized deduction—and you forever avoid paying tax on the gain,” Faulkner says. “The charity gets more money, and you avoid tax.”

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