For 2020 there is a new $300 charity deduction that will benefit taxpayers who claim the standard deduction.
Typically, charitable donations are allowed as a tax deduction only to taxpayers who itemize their tax deductions on their tax return and not allowed to taxpayers claiming the standard deduction. However, beginning in 2020, taxpayers who do not itemize their tax deductions can claim a charity deduction, capped at $300, regardless of filing status. Only cash donations paid directly to qualified charities will qualify for this deduction. Non-cash donations do not qualify nor do donations to Donor Advised Funds. If you take the standard deduction on your tax return, be sure to let your tax preparer know if you made any cash donations in 2020.
An alternative to donating cash to charitable organizations, is to donate long-term appreciated marketable securities.
This strategy allows individuals to avoid the capital gains tax they would incur by selling an appreciated investment and then donating the proceeds. When donating appreciated stock, bonds, mutual funds and other similar investments taxpayers can claim a tax deduction equal to the market value of the security as of the date of the charitable donation.