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No charity tax break for nonitemizers

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in Small Business Tax

Q: My daughter graduated from college, and she gave $500 to the Red Cross after the hurricane. She probably won't itemize deductions this year. Is there any way she can deduct this donation? B.K., Red Bank, N.J.

A: Not yet. Under the current tax rules, only taxpayers who itemize can claim deductions for charitable donations. Before 1986, nonitemizers could write off their charity donations, and some lawmakers have floated proposals recently to bring back those good old days. But nothing's happened yet. One possibility: Congress and the IRS granted other special tax benefits after Hurricane Katrina (see page 1) and have done so with other natural disasters, so keep an eye out for new IRS pronouncements in this area.

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