I was in my company meeting the other day and the HR lady told people they made a mistake about how a charity we are running would work. Instead of the money being taken out of on a pre-tax basis, it would be taken out post-tax. But she assured everyone it would be OK because you can just take care of it at the end of the year on your tax return.
I couldn't believe the crap I was hearing. If you know anything about taxes (and you really should if you don't) you know that THIS IS NOT THE SAME THING! I can't believe any HR person can get away with saying that it is.
What am I talking about? Most people DO NOT itemize their tax bill. Most people take the standard deduction which is $5000. That means, you are better off taking the standard deduction until you have at least $5000 in deductions. How many people have $5,000 in deductions ($10,000 if you are married)? Fully 2/3 of all Americans take the standard deduction. That means they get NO tax benefit from donating to charity, having a mortgage, or having any business expenses. Zip, zilch, nada. All those tax breaks you supposedly get (my favorite being the mortgage deduction) actually don't benefit you unless you have $5,000 in other deductions.
Now, should the #1 concern about giving to charity be your tax break? Of course not. But for an HR person to say that it is equivalent is just a flat out lie.