New tax law will change charitable contribution write-offs

ST. LOUIS - After President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, you may want to think about giving to your favorite charity before the end of this year.

The new law means it may be harder for you to get a tax write-off for charitable contributions.

In St. Louis, MERS Goodwill received more than 1.5 million donations this year, a 6 percent increase over last year.

"Whether it's an individual with autism, a person with domestic violence, a person who just needs a second chance or someone with other barriers to employment, those are all reasons I believe we're supported so well by the St. Louis community," said MERS Goodwill President and CEO David Kutchback.

Those donations helped provide opportunities for 50,000 people this year.

"That's what really keeps our stores open and gives us a chance to give a hand up instead of handout," Kutchback said.

Goodwill can give donors a form to show to Uncle Sam if they itemize your deductions.

However, the new tax law nearly doubles the standard deduction from $6,350 to $12,000 for singles next year. It increases from $12,700 to $24,000 for married couples. Charity experts say 82 percent of charitable giving comes from those who itemize.

According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, charities are expecting a $20 billion drop in donations next year as a result of the law.

"We're just in hopes that people really do give to just be able to do the right thing," Kutchback said. "The tax deduction is a bit of an incentive, but I believe they'll continue to support our mission."

As you welcome new gifts and consider throwing out the old this holiday season, Kutchback is hopeful the community will consider that mission.

"If you haven't used or recycled something in a year, it's really time to recycle that and give someone else a chance," Kutchback said.

Taxpayers have until December 31 to make donations to count toward deductions for the 2017 tax year.