Tax Exempt Giving

The holiday season is a time for giving. People often buy presents for family, friends, and co-workers, but there is a gift that can also benefit you in more ways than one, a donation to a local not-for-profit.

Every Christmas Imprint Enterprises calls Ron Hume at 360 Youth Services, formally known as NCO Youth and Family Services and asks for a family in need and what they want for the holidays.

“Typically we’ll purchase all of the Christmas presents for one family,” said Robert Conti, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Imprint Enterprises. “So that includes the mother, father and kids. Why I want to give back to other families is really because they’re in need. Really nothing more simple than that.”

“They come in with a van full of furniture” said Hume. “We’ve gotten bicycles skateboards and snowboards, and it’s phenomenal. They’re there every year.”

When businesses or individuals donate to a charity they can write it off on their taxes, whether it’s a monetary donation or items like Christmas gifts.

“The cash gift is for that value, if you buy the Xbox or you buy a gift basket, anything you put into it, the total of money you spent, is deductable,” said Leslie Cesario, CPA at Leslie Cesario Ltd.

Cesario says a written check is no longer acceptable with the IRS and to make sure you get a detailed receipt from the organization.

Although the holiday season is the most popular time businesses receive donations, many not-for-profits in town receive gifts all year round.

“Look around, donations are how Center Stage Theater really was built,” said Kandiss Hernandez, Director for Kidz Kaberet. “As a not-for-profit you look for all kinds of ways for people to participate in the growth of your organization, whether it be financially, volunteerism or in kind donations. Like these 180 chairs, they were from the Nova 8 before they tore that down and became Hollywood Palms, they donated these chairs which would have ended up in the dump.”

“We really couldn’t do what we do without donations,” said Hume. “They’re very, very helpful. And I have to say the Naperville Community is the most generous in terms of donations, both monetary and their time. And it’s absolutely just a tremendous thing that our community does.”

For many businesses and individuals the simple act of giving isn’t really about writing it off on their taxes, it’s about helping the community.

“To be a part of something and to be instrumental in changing lives, whether it be children in children’s theater, whether it be Hesed House and helping the homeless, the animal shelter, to be instrumental in that in one way or another, I hope our country is taking a turn for making more of an effort in that way,” said Hernandez. “Usually it’s very simple, writing a check is difficult, I understand that, but you can do so much with your time and donations.”

“The tax part of it really has absolutely nothing to do with the decisions that we make,” said Conti. “It’s really about helping people and doing the right thing. Also, being a good steward.”

“If you ever want to see what the true meaning of the holidays are, watching someone who has nothing come in and look at gifts that are for her children and the expression on the face of someone getting that because they know without that their kids weren’t going to have a Christmas. Its kind of what the holidays are about,” said Hume.

According to USA Today, charitable giving was up nearly 4% in 2010.

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