For The Salvation Army, the season of giving goes both ways. As they work to give back to the community, they’re also raising awareness about the need for year-end donations.
“End of the year giving is critical for us to do what we do 365 days a year,” deputy development director Jan Gunter said.
The Salvation Army is preparing to expand its services in 2018 with two new facilities and Gunter said donations coming in right now will have a visible impact on the community.
“We’re making sure that people are able to have shelter and food and not only that, but to move into improved employment and safe housing,” she said.
But under the new tax law, charitable giving will take a hit. The standard deduction is doubled and Certified Public Accountants say it’s likely people will be less likely to itemize in the future.
Melinda Oster, senior tax manager at Atchley and Associates, says questions over donations, property taxes and other changes under the new law are leading to a busier last few days of the year. “I’ve seen about a third uptick in the clients that are calling me,” she said.
Oster says accountants have to treat each client’s case differently and the advice they’re giving out varies.
“I literally had two clients I was talking to today on the phone,” she said. “You’d think they had similar situations because they both pay more than $10,000 in property taxes.”
However, there were several other factors that led her to provide different guidance for each client. Oster said even CPAs are still trying to unscramble the lengthy tax legislation in order to translate that to people who have questions.
“We’re still learning some of the things that were changed as part of the law that are going to impact us in 2018,” she said.
Gunter said she hopes the new legislation doesn’t turn away donors.
“Those dollars help provide employment assistance,” she said. “They help provide counseling to stabilize families.”