How To Deduct Donations To San Ramon Area Food Banks: 2021 Taxes

·4 min read

SAN RAMON, CA — If you’re one of many in San Ramon who claim the standard deduction rather than itemize your tax returns — and most people do — here’s some good news if you were thinking about donating to Feeding America through Patch’s annual food drive.

If you plan to claim the standard deduction on your 2021 tax returns, you can actually write off up to $600 in contributions to charities such as Feeding America, provided you give by Dec. 31. These write-offs are possible thanks to a charitable-giving deduction authorized by Congress in response to the pandemic.

Nationwide, more than 38 million Americans — including 12 million children — are considered food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Feeding America says as many as 42 million Americans could go hungry in 2021.

Before the pandemic, 7.6 percent of people in Contra Costa County were considered to be food insecure, according to Feeding America. The continuing economic fallout from the pandemic has increased that number to 10.0 percent who are on the brink of hunger.

If you need food in Contra Costa County, call 855-309-3663 to find the nearest distribution center.

In 2020, a charitable-giving deduction of $300 was authorized under the CARES — Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security — Act. This year, however, the charitable deduction is more for those who file a joint return.

For 2020, the charitable limit was $300 per “tax unit” — meaning that those who are married and filing jointly could only get a $300 deduction. For the 2021 tax year, those who are married and filing jointly can each take a $300 deduction for a total of $600.

Under the change, individual taxpayers can claim an “above-the-line” deduction of up to $600 in cash donations to qualifying charities in 2021. This means the deduction lowers both gross income and taxable income — translating into tax savings for those making donations to the qualifying tax-exempt organization.

In tax year 2019, the latest year for which complete figures are available, just over 87 percent of all filers claimed the standard deduction, according to the AARP, citing the Tax Policy Center.

Other qualifying organizations can be found by using the Tax Exempt Organization Search tool on to make sure the organization is eligible for tax-deductible donations.

Cash donations include those made by check, credit card or debit card. The IRS reminds those seeing the charitable deduction to retain records related to the contributions — such as a receipt or acknowledgment letter from the charity — and keep canceled checks or credit card receipts.

The CARES Act also made other provisions to help charities during the pandemic. These include higher charitable contribution limits for corporations, individuals who itemize their deductions, and businesses that give food inventory to food banks and other eligible charities. For more information about these and other coronavirus-related tax relief provisions, visit

The Patch Holiday Food Drive continues through Dec. 31. For every $1 you give, Feeding America can supply 10 meals.

RELATED: 2021 Patch Holiday Food Drive: How To Give To Feeding America

Many of the families experiencing food insecurity don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs, and they need to rely on their food banks and other hunger relief organizations to have enough to eat, according to Feeding America.

Patch and Feeding America teamed up in summer 2020 to address the growing hunger crisis in America, connecting readers with the organization’s 200 member food banks that serve 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, and providing an easy way to donate money to help their neighbors.

A stubborn pandemic, rising food prices, and supply chain issues combined this year to increase the urgency of the 2021 Patch Holiday Food Drive.

Higher prices at the grocery store make it worse for people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. Officials at the nation's 200 food banks, which supply 60,000 local food pantries and meal programs around the country, are paying two to three times more than they were before the pandemic as supply chain bottlenecks, lower inventory and labor shortages drive up food costs.

Katie Fitzgerald, Feeding America's CEO, told The Associated Press she's not sure how long food banks will be able to absorb the higher costs.

"What happens when food prices go up is food insecurity for those who are experiencing it just gets worse," Fitzgerald said.

Find your local food bank

Make a donation to Feeding America*

"The Impact of Coronavirus On Food Insecurity"

Take action against hunger

How To Support The Patch Holiday Food Drive

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2021, more than 42 million Americans won’t have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations.

* Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.

This article originally appeared on the San Ramon Patch

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