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Based on this exchange, I would be curious in what state you live?

If you live in almost any state with a state income tax, your state income tax deduction (based on 80-90k of income) should put you near or over the standard deduction threshhold (5K if you are single).

From a purely financial standpoint, giving to charity, reduces your bottom line. Obviously, the decision to give to charity is a weighing of nonfinancial factors.

Something else to consider if you are unable to get a serious tax benefits this year from charitable contributions - try doubling up next year. Make your 2005 contribution in January 2006 and then your 2006 contributions as the year goes on.

Now, ignore everything I just said and focus on this.

The single most important thing you can do financially and tax-wise is to maximize the benefit of your existing employee benefits. Start with your 401(k) plan. At a minimum you should find out if your employer has a match on employee contributions and you should maximize that match. Next, consider that your 401(k) contribution, up to the statutory limit of $14,000 in 2005 will reduce your income on a dollar for dollar basis by that amount. There are all sorts of benefits that might be available to you which might reduce either your tax liability or enhance your financial position.

If you desire further feedback [without cost, feel free to follow up off line.]
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