The holidays are upon us once again. And while our immediate thoughts are on all of the parties and festivities that will occur over the next month, we also know what comes right after this season of celebration. That’s right, tax season is just around the corner. So while you’re enjoying your time with family and friends, keep in mind these tips to make your tax preparation easier and more beneficial.

First, be sure to make all of your charitable donations by December 31. Donations are deductible in the year they were made, so don’t worry if a check you write on December 30 doesn’t clear until January. But do verify that the organizations you’re giving to have tax-exempt status. If you aren’t sure if an organization qualifies, use the IRS Select Check tool to verify. (Please note that some religious or government groups may not be included in this database but still offer tax-exempt donations.)

Next, consider whether there are any assets you can donate. Some nonprofits accept gifts of vehicles, boats, real estate, or stocks. If you’re in a position to make such a donation, verify the terms with the nonprofit. You should also talk with your tax preparation adviser to make sure you’re getting the best possible outcome.

Finally, start thinking about whether you can itemize. Each year, the IRS sets the standard deduction amounts for both individuals and couples filing jointly. If the total of your charitable donations, property taxes, mortgage interest, and medical expenses is more than the standard deduction, you can itemize. Make sure you’re factoring in all deductible expenses so that you can get the maximum deduction available to you.

For more information about these topics, or to talk about other tax preparation matters, call Blackwell’s Tax Service. Our Fort Mill, SC office serves clients throughout the Rock Hill and York County area. Choose us to prepare your tax returns and you’ll see why we stand out from the national tax services.