If you choose to give physical assets, such as art work, the delivery and transfer of the title or deed must happen before Dec. 31.
If you choose to donate stock, that transaction is only recognized as completed once the transfer request has been submitted by your financial advisor or firm.
Keep in mind that if you are over age 70½, you can make a donation directly from an individual retirement account to a charity.
If your gift exceeds $250, you need to get a receipt. A cancelled check or a brokerage certificate showing a transfer of shares won’t count.
“Charities aren’t required by law to give you a receipt, so you have to go and ask them,” Duffy said.
Furthermore, you have to have that receipt in hand by the time you file your taxes in April. If you file for an extension, you will need to have documentation of your gift by the time you file in October.
“Put a tickler somewhere in your personal file to follow up within 60 days to get the receipt,” Duffy said.
It’s not too late to set up what’s known as a donor-advised fund for your charitable gifts this year.
The advantage of a donor-advised fund is you can get the deduction for making the gift this year, but decide later which charities to which you want to donate the money. Most major brokerage firms can set one up for you.
Also, many donor-advised funds typically have a minimum requirement. Firms such as Schwab and Fidelity have $5,000 minimums.