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Will the new tax laws change your bike giving?

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Will the new tax laws change your bike giving?

Old 12-30-17, 12:01 PM
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uncle uncle
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Will the new tax laws change your bike giving?

I had the week off as the industry that I work within, machinery is shut down for it's yearly inspections and maintenance, and it's just easier to push most of the year's holiday days into one snowy, glum, cold clump. Anyways, I took one last bike to our local coop... to get one last tax deduction. Yep, with the U.S.A tax law changes, it doesn't look like it's going to be a thing to provide a charitable write-off on one's deductions. IMHO, I think it will lead to more consumption of the very new, while seeing less effort on recycling the old and useful.

I'm not sure what implications this change will have for me personally, as I'm not sure that I'll take any more or less things to the 2nd hand stores. I imagine my genetic disposition to be thrifty will not let me just chuck useful things into the trash... but, who knows. On one hand, it gives me a reason to peek in and see how things are going for them (a plus) but on the other hand, I bought a set of handlebars last time there (a negative, since I didn't necessarily need them). Junk creep has been a lifelong battle for me.

Anyone else haunt the local coop in search of those little and unsuspecting treasures? I just wonder if others might want to comment on what their crystal ball is foretelling for the coming days? Do you think it will have any impact at all?

(The poster of this message took about 6+ bikes to the Coop this year, but for all intents and purposes, and a Coop that couldn't get it's donation paperwork/emailing system to work, I will only claim 2 donations this year. The last search thru the available bikes showed that the previous 5 bikes I had donated, 4 were absent, with one still there (but I only donated a week prior). That made me feel pretty good. )

Last edited by uncle uncle; 12-30-17 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 12-30-17, 12:06 PM
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It will be interesting to see how the change in the tax law will affect charitable giving in general.


The new standard deduction for a married couple is so large ($24K) and so many of the larger deductions (state income tax, some mortgage interest, tax prep fees) have been eliminated or reduced, that people may just not bother...which would be a shame and a catastrophe for so many organizations that provide needed services but are funded by the general public.


Won't impact us, as our family has a long tradition of a 'giving program', but will be keeping in close contact with organizations that we support to see how they are doing.
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Old 12-30-17, 12:27 PM
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I've never filed for anything I donated anyway so won't effect me at all in terms of whether I give or not
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Old 12-30-17, 12:33 PM
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I donate all the time but never claim it for tax purposes. Unless you are giving thousands worth of stuff I don`t see much point in the write off? The extra $25 does not go very far.
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Old 12-30-17, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
I donate all the time but never claim it for tax purposes.
You would be surprised how quickly it adds up. I got into the habit of sending an email to myself when I donated anything. At the end of the year, the amount is not insignificant.

That said, the only change I see is not sending the email. The individual donations each are pretty insignificant and it's just fun to do.
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Old 12-30-17, 12:56 PM
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I've never claimed bike/component donations, so it will be business as usual for me, too. And since the (one) organization is also one I volunteer for, and one they give a volunteer discount for, it's all pretty even to me. I concur that it will be interesting to watch as the new law is rolled out. Thankfully, there is a good deal of people and people with money in Seattle. Much lesser populated areas (with potentially much less bicycle focus) will really be ones to watch.
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Old 12-30-17, 01:17 PM
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No. Too poor to bother with claiming charity donations.
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Old 12-30-17, 02:29 PM
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No, we will continue to support those in need but I fear that the new tax laws will definitely change many peoples lives in a negative way...at the moment I am more concerned about those needing healthcare.
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Old 12-30-17, 07:16 PM
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It won't affect my donations of material goods, but it'll definitely have a significant effect on my main contributions to charities. I've always donated as much as I felt I could afford plus the amount of the deduction I would shortly be getting. Now, that deduction will be wiped out so I will have to donate less. Also, that year-end reminder to give to charity before the tax year ends will vanish which erases an important incentive for many people. This new tax law is extremely bad news for all charities for exactly this reason.
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Old 12-30-17, 07:24 PM
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Never donated to a bike co-op, but take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. They always ask if I want a tax slip, which is a blank form with lines for date and items donated. Then when it comes time to do my taxes, I look at the donation forms and the tax form and decide it is not worth it. They ask how you came up with your claimed value and "just took a stab" doesn't seem as it would hold up in an audit. So I don't take the form from Goodwill any more. The new tax laws will not change my giving habits (church, missionaries, other charities, Goodwill).
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Old 12-30-17, 07:26 PM
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Well it really sucks that the only reason many give is for tax purposes. So much for humanity.
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Old 12-30-17, 07:28 PM
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I guess the bonus will go to the poor that drive around collecting discarded goods in the trash on garbage day?
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Old 12-30-17, 08:21 PM
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Deductibility or non-deductibility have no impact on my giving of merchandise. I never get a receipt on a donation of bike stuff to the co-op. Maybe one out of a hundred donators ask for a receipt at the co-op where I volunteer.

I handle cash donations differently.

If you like to manage cash donations efficiently, then a donor advised fund, such as Vanguard Charitable, is the way to go.

With the new tax law, I will be taking the standard deduction.


To those that worry about tax law changes, no change is permanent, regardless of what it is called. If the changes were "permanent" then we would still just have have two brackets, 15% and 28% (Reagan's "permanent" tax changes).


I was surprised this week. Typically at the end of the year, i see long lines at the various charities with people donating stuff, with lots of interesting bikes appearing (end of the year rush). With the change in the tax law, if anything, I thought i would have seen a LOT MORE activity to beat the year end. I saw just the opposite. No lines to donate, no interesting stuff coming in. Kind of shows that merchandise donations are not driven by tax savings (at least my one data point).

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Old 12-30-17, 08:24 PM
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police & fire houses will need donations more than ever
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Old 12-30-17, 08:37 PM
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Not going to effect our giving at all, this is not why we give to cycling groups, co-ops or other places that extra parts, cash, etc., go to. Nor is it going to effect our charitable giving, @Steve Whitlatch said it best above, taxes before humanity? How sad.

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Old 12-30-17, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
I guess the bonus will go to the poor that drive around collecting discarded goods in the trash on garbage day?
A few years ago my nearest big city made it illegal to take usefull items from curbside trash.

As to changes in how or what we donate, it will be business as usual.

I see a lot of people locally who donate stuff that is too good to throw away and too much hassle to try and sell. There are usually long lines at donation centers after small town rummage days end each weekend through the Spring and Summer.
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Old 12-30-17, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Whitlatch View Post
Well it really sucks that the only reason many give is for tax purposes. So much for humanity.
I think you're confused about this. Having deductible charitable contributions means that you can give more than you otherwise might have. Nobody gives only for tax purposes because you can't (unless you're a billionaire). For example, let's say I have $1000 max I can afford to give in total and I can deduct 30% of charitable contributions from my taxes. That means I can give $1300 knowing that I can lower my estimated tax payments by $300 for a net of $1000. The charity wins $300 extra dollars. Once the deduction is gone I will only be able to afford to give the $1000. The charity loses $300, plus it loses again because a lot of folks like me have an added reminder/motivation to give at the end of the year to lock in that tax deduction. No deduction, no deadline, no reminder/additional motivation. Everybody loses.
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Old 12-30-17, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I think you're confused about this. Having deductible charitable contributions means that you can give more than you otherwise might have. Nobody gives only for tax purposes because you can't (unless you're a billionaire). For example, let's say I have $1000 max I can afford to give in total and I can deduct 30% of charitable contributions from my taxes. That means I can give $1300 knowing that I can lower my estimated tax payments by $300 for a net of $1000. The charity wins $300 extra dollars. Once the deduction is gone I will only be able to afford to give the $1000. The charity loses $300, plus it loses again because a lot of folks like me have an added reminder/motivation to give at the end of the year to lock in that tax deduction. No deduction, no deadline, no reminder/additional motivation. Everybody loses.
But you are getting a tax cut? You are not getting the deduction because you are taking the higher standard deduction? I am sure there is going to be a turbo tax option that lets you pick between the two. If you want to pay more taxes, just opt for itemization. You will then get to write off your deduction. Why you would want to is another question?
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Old 12-30-17, 11:01 PM
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Won’t effect us, still give as before.

Simpler tax form & 24k deduction
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Old 12-31-17, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I think you're confused about this. Having deductible charitable contributions means that you can give more than you otherwise might have. Nobody gives only for tax purposes because you can't (unless you're a billionaire). For example, let's say I have $1000 max I can afford to give in total and I can deduct 30% of charitable contributions from my taxes. That means I can give $1300 knowing that I can lower my estimated tax payments by $300 for a net of $1000. The charity wins $300 extra dollars. Once the deduction is gone I will only be able to afford to give the $1000. The charity loses $300, plus it loses again because a lot of folks like me have an added reminder/motivation to give at the end of the year to lock in that tax deduction. No deduction, no deadline, no reminder/additional motivation. Everybody loses.
I think it is quite rare for someone to do this calculation and adjust their donation up or down based on tax savings. I've never done it. I don't make donations if money is so tight that $300 tax savings affects my ability to give. Tight years = no giving, good years = generous giving. Realize that 69% don't even itemize under the old tax law (83% of americans give to charity, so a lot of them are getting no tax benefit). With the new tax law, it will probably be more like 80% won't itemize. Myself, not itemizing makes doing taxes that much easier. This is one reason worries about deductions are overblown.

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Old 12-31-17, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
I think it is quite rare for someone to do this calculation and adjust their donation up or down based on tax savings. I've never done it.
I've never done it either as I never itemize. But I have heard of a good number of people who assert that they do calculate in the deduction when deciding how much to give to charity which leads me to suspect it may be less rare than you theorize. Of course the big fish will still be itemizing deductions, so the impact if any will be largely on the smaller contributions coming from working Americans.
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Old 12-31-17, 09:54 AM
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For the past few years, we (my wife really) have itemized on our tax return. Our interest on our residence loan, combined with state tax, was enough to make itemizing the way for us to go. I would say we give a greater-than-average amount of our income to charities too (this is an assumption), in cash donations. So, the giving to places like the Bike Coop, getting the small additional credit on our taxes came down to doing the additional work of making a list of what was donated (and getting a donation slip).

Yes, it was a small incentive, but, we also had times when we didn't bother tracking it, or if the charity didn't have a slip, no big. I still thing it's way better than chucking the stuff in the trash (because that's really more convenient, but in a short sided, selfish, and unthinking mindset sort of way).
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Old 12-31-17, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by bogydave View Post

Simpler tax form & 24k deduction
On a postcard! I'm a little worried people may see my finances so am using invisible ink on my return. Its a trick The Donald uses too.
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Old 12-31-17, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I think you're confused about this. Having deductible charitable contributions means that you can give more than you otherwise might have. Nobody gives only for tax purposes because you can't (unless you're a billionaire). For example, let's say I have $1000 max I can afford to give in total and I can deduct 30% of charitable contributions from my taxes. That means I can give $1300 knowing that I can lower my estimated tax payments by $300 for a net of $1000. The charity wins $300 extra dollars. Once the deduction is gone I will only be able to afford to give the $1000. The charity loses $300, plus it loses again because a lot of folks like me have an added reminder/motivation to give at the end of the year to lock in that tax deduction. No deduction, no deadline, no reminder/additional motivation. Everybody loses.
This is the correct answer, there is nothing here to dispute...

If you give the same $1000 to charity that formerly cost you around $700, it now costs you $1000 ($300 more net) if you can no longer claim it as an itemized deduction.

All things equal, you'll only be able to give $700 ongoing. Everyone's situation may be different, but chances are if you itemized previously, you will pay around the same same or even more as you did before in taxes (without the ability to give the extra $300 - or net $1000 - to charity on a discretionary basis). The only difference is that instead of choosing to give the extra $300 to charity at a cost of $700, you have now given it to those that benefit the most from the new tax structure. Those are without a doubt the top 5% of earners and corporations.

If you took the standard deduction before, and gave to charity, and will continue to; this is an unrelated discussion.
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Old 12-31-17, 12:29 PM
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As others have indicated, most people of means and good will will continue to donate regardless of the new rules.

However, I do suspect that you won't see as many top-of-the-line used bikes being donated to charitable co-ops and other charities aimed at providing (say) bike outreach for youth.

I got both my and wife's 10-speed-Campag-equiped Ti Serottas from sales by such organizations which had these sweet machines donated to them - both were obviously too nice to outfit a first-time inexperienced juvenile bike rider. Both were in great shape SoCal machines that fit us perfectly, the donors obviously having moved on to newer and maybe lighter carbon machines (because they could afford to), and they also got tax credit of 30% of whatever they were valued at - they probably could claim their worth at close to what they paid.

The charities converted them both into cash via 'bay buy-it-now sales listed only a few hundred over what you would have had to pay in the best deal you could find anywhere, assuming that you could win the private auction (most private owners set their b-i-n targets a lot higher) and the seller was as wise at packing as the charity bike shops seem to be. I view this as a win-win-win.

Who knows whether the new tax rules will change this dynamic? I hope not, but it could be.

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