What Exactly Is a Qualifying Charitable Organization in Arizona?

If you are just hearing about the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit for the first time, you may not yet feel confident about moving forward with directing your tax credits. There is a lot of terminology to be aware of, so it’s understandable to want to seek out more information. One thing that many people may not fully understand is who you can actually direct your tax credits to. In this article, we will summarize the tax credit and provide some clarity about who benefits from it.

What Is the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit?

The Arizona Charitable Tax Credit allows taxpayers to make charitable contributions and receive dollar-for-dollar reductions in their Arizona state tax liabilities. According to Phoenix Children’s Foundation, the tax credit for gifts to Qualifying Charitable Organizations (QCOs) began in 1998 Back then it was referred to as the “Working Poor Tax Credit.”

As opposed to directing funds straight from your pocket, giving items like food boxes, or using your time for volunteer opportunities, the tax credit allows people to direct their tax credit to a working poor charity in Arizona. The specific charity that you donate to will depend on whether or not they are certified as either a Qualifying Charitable Organization or a Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organization (QFCO). You can inquire with your CPA about this at any time of the year, but be sure to bring it up around tax time!

What Makes a QCO a QCO?

According to the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR), a QCO is a tax deductible charity that offers immediate assistance in the form of basic needs to Arizona residents who are given TANF benefits — temporary assistance for needy families. These residents must be low-income and live in Arizona, or they may have a child suffering from either a chronic illness or living with a physical disability. These organizations must utilize at least 50% of their yearly budget towards services for qualifying residents of Arizona.

As a tax deductible charity that provides local residents with necessities such as food, clothing, and more, Paz de Cristo is proud to qualify as a QCO under Arizona law. When you direct your tax credits to us, we make the most of them by hosting daily dinners, helping with resumes, providing bus passes to help with transportation to and from interviews, and more.

To learn how you can use your tax credits to help our Qualifying Charitable Organization, reach out to us today or speak to your CPA!

Here’s What You Need to Know About Planned Giving

According to Nonprofitsource.com, approximately 63 million Americans volunteer their time, energy, and talents to make a difference. However, in our busy schedules, it can be hard to set aside time to give back in the ways that we want to. We can’t always take advantage of volunteer opportunities or put together food boxes. With that in mind, there are other ways that you can give back. Many people who are further along in their career consider planned giving. But what is planned giving, and is it right for you?

What Is Planned Giving?

A planned gift is considered any major gift to a charity, made either in life or death, as a part of a donor’s financial and/or estate plan. You may be familiar with donating to annual funds or paying membership dues to a nonprofit, but that would not qualify as planned gifts. Planned gifts are a more calculated aspect of a comprehensive financial objective.

What Are the Types of Planned Giving?

Planned giving can look like a few different things. Firstly, you can gift outright items that use appreciated assets as opposed to physical money. Secondly, you can give a gift that returns income or other financial benefits to yourself as a donor. Thirdly, you can set up a payment or items to be gifted upon your death. This would be arranged previously in your will. Under Paz de Cristo’s “Planned Giving” page you will find more information about specific methods of giving, such as beneficiary designation gifts, a charitable remainder unitrust, and more. We try to make information as clear as possible to help you with your mission to give back.

What Can Be Given?

Many operate under the misconception that you can only donate either physical items or cash to working poor charities like Paz de Cristo, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! We accept a wide variety of gifts under our planned giving. To learn more about donating options, be sure to visit our “Planned Giving” page.

Who Can Accept Planned Gifts?

Finding a working poor charity to donate to is easier than you may assume. According to the Internal Revenue Code, you can participate in planned giving to any nonprofit! This includes charities of all sizes that serve any cause. While it may take effort on the part of the charity to make the most of your gift, it’s easy for you as a donor. At Paz de Cristo, we make the process simple.

To learn more about what planned giving is and how you can utilize it to benefit the work that we do at Paz de Cristo, reach out to us today!

What Should You Consider Donating to Charity?

With nearly 30% of our neighbors living on paychecks that barely cover their necessities, there are always ways to give back to those in need within our community. If you are someone who has considered providing help but hasn’t had the chance to do so, now is the perfect time to learn what you can do to make a difference. Donations are a major component of what we do here at Paz de Cristo, but it can be tricky to know what is appropriate to donate. Here are three types of donations you can make that will help our cause here at Paz de Cristo.

Food Products

At Paz de Cristo, we pride ourselves on the work we do to ensure that those who struggle to put food on the table are not going hungry. With a mission to feed, clothe and empower, food is one of the most necessary pieces to the success of that mission. Every night of the year, we serve dinner in our dining hall. Volunteers prepare hot, nutritious meals for those who are struggling within our community. Donating food products like jelly and pasta noodles helps us prepare more hot meals and also helps us fill our food boxes. Not only do we serve hot meals, but we also prepare emergency food boxes that are given out every day of the week. A food box is generally filled with necessary items like bread, fruit, and other nutritional foods. Anybody in the community is welcome to come in and pick up a food box when needed. We provide over 50,000 meals every month so we never want anyone to feel reluctant about coming in for help.

Clothing and Cosmetic Products

Another piece of our mission is to clothe. This doesn’t just mean we want to hand out clothes for no real reason. We want to provide our guests with a fresh start. Here at Paz de Cristo, we give our people in our community the opportunity to take a hot shower with soap and shampoo. Professional cosmetologists and barbers are also onsite to provide free haircuts. We know how important a fresh new look can be when trying to get back on your feet so we like to provide ample opportunity to do so. The main reason why we provide these cosmetic services is to give job seekers a new level of confidence when they go into interviews. We also try giving those job seekers professional attire for their interviews. If you have professional clothing that you are willing to donate, we are always looking for more. Our goal is to give our guests a whole new frame of mind and your donations could help make that possible.

Your Time

Arguably the most important form of donation you can make is donating your time. We are always looking for volunteers to organize donation drives, prepare hot meals, and hand out food boxes. With the widespread needs of our community, the more help we receive the better! There is always some kind of volunteer opportunity and we want everyone who considers donating their time to feel welcome to do so. We value the help we receive from volunteers so much that we highlight them on our website. If the amount of volunteer help we receive continues to rise, we can continue to provide the help that our community needs.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about all of our community service opportunities. There are always things to do and ways to help, so if you have the time or resources, we would love your extra set of hands. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities or making donations, call Paz de Cristo to get started right away!

Common Misconceptions About the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit

If you have not directed your tax funds to a charity, or done anything with them at all, then you may be unfamiliar with the details of the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. The requirements have changed over the years, and there’s a lot of information to know. Naturally, there are misconceptions about the credit. If you have a tax deductible charity that you want to donate to, like Paz de Cristo, then you need to know the facts.

Misconception #1: You Can Direct Funds to Any Charity

If you have a charity in mind to direct funds to, you first need to be sure that they qualify. Not all charitable organizations in Arizona are eligible to receive your tax funds. Money must be directed to Qualifying Charitable Organizations (QCOs) and Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations (QFCOs).

According to the Arizona Department of Revenue, QCOs offer immediate help to low-income Arizona families in need, as well as the children of those with chronic illnesses and/or physical disabilities. Paz de Cristo is a working poor charity that is certified as a QCO. Our volunteers work every single day of the year to give and receive food boxes, hand out food, and empower those who need it.

QFCOs do the same as QCOs, with an added stipulation. They have to direct at least half of their budgets to serve children in foster homes and welfare agencies.

Misconception #2: Contributions Must Be Made By Dec. 31st

Some people think that contributions to QCOs and QFCOs have to be made by the end of the calendar year to be eligible for state tax credits. This is untrue, however! Arizona authorizes contributions from taxpayers to be made up until April of the current year for the tax year prior. That means that in the year 2022, donations for the 2021 tax year must be made by April 15, 2022.

Misconception #3: QCOs and QFCOs Can Receive the Same Amount of Money

It is important to note, prior to making any contributions, that the sum of money that can be given to a QCO differs from the amount of money that can be given to a QFCO. According to givelocalkeeplocal.org, the maximum credit permitted for donations for Qualifying Charitable Organizations for singles, married and filing separately taxpayers, or heads of households is $400. Joint taxpayers may direct up to double that.

When it comes to QFCOs, those who are filing as a single, those who are married and filing separately, and heads of households can direct up to $500. Again, joint taxpayers may direct up to double that.

If you don’t have the time to take advantage of community service opportunities or the resources to put together a food box, consider taking the easy step to use your tax dollars to make a difference. We at Paz de Cristo would be happy to help you do so, and we appreciate any funds directed our way!

Your Guide to Using Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credits

Many people dread tax time. The reminder of finances and necessary payments can seem exhausting. In order to make this time of year a bit less daunting, consider taking advantage of Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credits. Giving back to your community can make doing your taxes feel less like a burden. Here’s some of the basic information you need to know before moving forward.

Firstly, What Is It?

The Arizona Charitable Tax Credit is what is known as a nonrefundable income tax credit. It presents itself as a two-fold deal, offering credits for Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organization (QFCOs), as well as Qualifying Charitable Organizations (QCOs). According to Phoenixchildrensfoundation.org, the tax credit for giving to Qualifying Charitable Organizations dates back to 1998. Back then, it was referred to as the Working Poor Tax Credit.

When it comes to QCOs, an individual may match their tax credit dollar-for-dollar up to $400. Those married filing jointly may match their tax credit dollar-for-dollar up to $800. When it comes to QFCOs, the credit is set at a slightly higher maximum. Individuals may donate up to $500 and those married filing jointly can donate up to $1,000. You aren’t limited to either a QCO or a QFCO!

What Charities Can I Donate To?

QCOs offer essential needs to those living in Arizona who get temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) benefits. Additionally, QCOs help residents of Arizona who may be low-income or supporting children suffering from a serious illness. A QFCO does this, as well, but they have another requirement. They have to spend at least half of their budgets on services for children that have been placed in either child welfare agencies or foster care homes. Paz de Cristo qualifies as a QCO for the work that we do to assist those in the community that go without food, clothing, or hygiene products. We offer food boxes and more!

Is It Too Late to Donate for 2021?

Many people have the misconception that they have to carry out their charitable donations by the end of the calendar year. In reality, the deadline to make a donation to a QCO or QFCO for this tax year is April 15, 2022.

Make Your Tax Dollars Count

To learn more information about how you can use your tax dollars to benefit a tax deductible charity, reach out to our working poor charity today. The professionals at Paz de Cristo would be happy to get you on your way to a more fulfilling tax season. If you don’t have the money to donate, reach out to learn about volunteer opportunities!

Looking for a Community Service Opportunity? Get Involved with Paz de Cristo

According to Nonprofitssource.com, people spend an average of 52 hours volunteering their time annually. If you’ve been meaning to take advantage of community service opportunities in your community but things keep getting in the way, now is the time to make it a priority. Volunteering is a fun way to give back that benefits you, as well. Here are three ways that you can get involved with Paz de Cristo to aid the effort of feeding, clothing, and empowering.

Assist With Empowerment

On a regular basis, Paz de Cristo accepts donations of all kinds — food, clothes, hygiene products. All of these go towards those who need them in the community. People are always needed for the inspecting and organizing of donations. There are shifts throughout the week available to help with this task, generally in the morning. This is a great volunteering solution for those who may not always want to be community-facing but still want to find a way to do some good.

Help Serve Meals

If you want to be on the front lines, serving meals could be the volunteer opportunity that you have been waiting for! In addition to regularly providing food boxes, Paz de Cristo has served meals to those who can’t find one elsewhere every single night for the past 31 years. The volunteers at Paz de Cristo are sure to keep Covid-19 in mind when handing out meals. Safety is a high priority — volunteers wash hands regularly, maintain safe distances, and more. Grab n’ Go meals are offered as a safer alternative to sit-down meals with plenty of people. If you’d like to be one of the five volunteers that help with Grab n’ Go meals, reach out to Paz de Cristo today!

Arrange a Drive

Is rallying people a skill of yours? Do you have lots of connections, as well as the motivation to get things done? Then consider organizing a drive for Paz de Cristo! Different things are always needed and donations of all kinds are always welcome. Right now, for instance, Paz de Cristo is low on jelly and pasta noodles. You can coordinate with Paz de Cristo to see how you can maximize your efforts to provide what’s really needed, whether it be blankets, hand sanitizer, or anything else.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to our working poor charity for more information about volunteer opportunities. There are always ways for you to get involved and we appreciate any help you are willing to give. Call Paz de Cristo today to get started.

3 State Tax Credits Arizona Residents Should Know About

tax deductible charity

Many people are looking to make a difference in the lives of those in their area, but simply don’t know where to begin. One way to consider giving to those in need is to take advantage of state tax credits. Each state may offer different tax credits, so we’re here to explain some of those offered in Arizona. Continue reading to learn how you affect positive change in your community in an easy and rewarding way.

Public School Tax Credit

If you’re looking for a way to help out children attending public schools, this is a great way to do so. The public school tax credit is for cash contributions towards Arizona public schools made by individual taxpayers. Businesses are, unfortunately, ineligible. This is a nonrefundable credit that was created for those seeking to improve the lives of public school children involved in after-school activities dealing with sports, music, art, and more.

Private School Tax Credit

Another way to help children that are working their way through their education is the utilize the Credit for Contributions to Private School Tuition Organizations — commonly referred to as the Private School Tax Credit. This is a nonrefundable tax credit for individuals donating funds to private school tuition organizations, or STOs. These organizations offer educational scholarships to students attending private schools. Similar to the Public School Tax Credit, corporations and other types of businesses cannot receive this tax credit. Those filing as single, married filing separately, or head of household can donate up to $569 and those filing married filing jointly can contribute up to $1,138.

Arizona Charitable Tax Credit

If you would like to direct funds to a wider range of charities, such as Paz de Cristo, then consider the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. Under this tax credit, you can give to Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations (QFCOs) and Qualified Charitable Organizations (QCOs). This money can go towards anything from food boxes to helping those without homes. Those filing as single, married filing separately, or head of household can donate up to $400 and joint taxpayers can contribute up to $800 to QCOs. In regards to QFCOs, those filing as single, married filing separately, or head of household can donate up to $500 and joint taxpayers can contribute up to $1000.

When you donate to a tax deductible charity such as Paz de Cristo, your funds are put towards helping all types of individuals in the community — those seeking employment, food, clothing, and more. Offering haircuts to job seekers is just one of many ways that we aim to empower those who need it.

According to Nptrust.org, there are over 1.54 million charitable organizations in the U.S. that you can donate to. For more information on how to donate to our organization and benefit from tax credit federal deductions, reach out to the professionals at Paz de Cristo.

3 Benefits of Volunteering in Your Community

volunteer opportunities

With the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, the prospect of finding time for volunteer opportunities often gets overlooked. That being said, many people would benefit from working the practice into their regular schedule. Giving your time to working poor charities and organizations that need help benefits both those in need and yourself. Finding the right charity can bring you friends, professional connections, inner peace, and so much more. Here are just a few ways that you can gain from giving.

Better Your Career

Are you unsatisfied with your current career? Volunteering your time has the possibility to bring you experience in different areas that are of interest to you. You don’t have to make a drastic change in your career to explore different fields and help people while you’re at it.

Working with charities such as Paz de Cristo can better your skills that can be applied to your career — skills such as organization, communication, ethical decision making, and working in a group. These are transferrable skills that will take you far in both life and your career! Additionally, plenty of organizations offer comprehensive training to their volunteers. You can gain knowledge while volunteering that you would have to pay to receive elsewhere.

Connect With and Improve Your Community

One obvious pro that comes with volunteering is the connection that you build with your community. Towns and cities are improved upon when people make the conscious effort to spend their time making a difference. People at all levels of organizations have an effect — from those organizing donations to those who hand out food boxes, like the volunteers at Paz de Cristo do every day of the week. You would be amazed at the stories you hear from people you never would have spoken to in your community if you had never taken the step to volunteer.

Add Fun to Your Life

If you’ve noticed your life becoming more mundane, and maybe even meaningless, volunteering is an easy way to change things up. You can investigate interests that you never would otherwise, all while empowering people in your area. Whether you’re looking for a way to unwind or reinvigorate yourself, there are volunteering options out there for you.

According to Nonprofitssource.com, about 63 million U.S. residents, or a quarter of the adult population, volunteer. Ask yourself what is stopping you from adding yourself to that number. There are many volunteer opportunities available to you, you just have to go out there and find the right one. To learn how to help the staff at Paz de Cristo with our mission of feeding, clothing, and empowering, give us a call today!

A Story of Resilience: Jay Shares His Experience at Paz de Cristo

Jay, a regular participant in Paz de Cristo’s shower program, first came to Paz de Cristo, a year ago. His story is like many others who come to Paz for services – he was a hardworking, employed individual for much of his life until he ran into troubling times.  Jay ended up in serious legal trouble over a year ago and found himself on the streets, completely homeless and not knowing what to do or where to go.

While on the streets, he learned about the weekly shower program at Paz de Cristo.  Jay managed to find his way down to Paz one Wednesday and saw “a wonderful program.”  He was able to take a hot shower that morning, and receive a healthy, nutritious meal that evening.

Jay quickly realized that there was more to Paz than just helping to fulfill basic needs – he has since become a regular at Paz and has worked closely with our on-site partner, COPA Health, and has utilized their navigation program, with Circle the City and their mobile medical clinic, and has utilized the services Paz de Cristo’s Empowerment program offers.

“Paz de Cristo helped save my life,” he said. “They bring a sense of humanity back to those who need it.”

Because of your generosity, we are able to help more people like Jay. Your year-end donation can truly make a difference in the lives of each individual we serve at Paz de Cristo.  Donate now before it’s too late!

More than a meal. We Feed, Clothe and Empower.

How to Use Your Taxes to Do Good in Your Community

volunteer opportunities

While thoughts of taxes often bring feelings of stress, that doesn’t have to be the case. If you live in the state of Arizona, there is a way that you can use your funds to benefit both yourself and your community. By taking advantage of the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit, you can receive dollar-for-dollar reductions in your Arizona state tax liabilities while helping working poor charities such as Paz de Cristo. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, there are more than 1.5 million charitable organizations in the U.S. Keep reading to learn more!

What Is the Tax Credit?

The Arizona Charitable Tax Credit is comprised of two individual income tax credits for charitable contributions, which are nonrefundable. To receive the credit, you direct funds to Qualifying Charitable Organizations (QCOs) such as Paz de Cristo and/or Qualifying Foster Care Charitable Organizations (QFCOs). If you are married filing jointly, the maximum allowable credit for contributions to QCOs is $800 and to QFCOs is $1,000. If you are single, a head of household, or married filing separately, you can donate up to $400 to a QCO or $500 to a QFCO. When you donate, you are provided with a dollar-for-dollar tax benefit. This allows you to reduce your state tax liability for each dollar that you donate. Not many people know that the tax credit for gifts towards QCOs dates back to 1998. Back then, it was referred to as the ‘Working Poor Tax Credit.’

What Happens With My Funds?

Qualifying Charitable Organizations are described as organizations that ‘provide immediate basic needs to residents of Arizona who receive temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) benefits, are low-income residents of Arizona, or are children who have a chronic illness or physical disability.’ Paz de Cristo, for instance, utilizes the funds that we receive to provide baths, food boxes, and help to those who need additional job or life skills.

How Do I Take Advantage of the Tax Credit?

The process is simple! First, you choose a certified QCO or QFCO to direct your funds to. Once you make your donation, you hold onto the receipt of your gift that you receive from the charity. You must provide a copy of this receipt with your tax return. Next, you will complete the required tax form in order to claim one or multiple credits for your gift or gifts. For QCOs, you will fill out Arizona Form 321. For QFCOs, you will fill out Arizona Form 352. Find out what your individual tax return is. Then, subtract your tax credits from your tax liability to decrease your Arizona state tax balance. Include the completed form with this return.

To learn more about the Arizona Tax Credit federal deduction, or to find out information about volunteer opportunities, reach out to Paz de Cristo. We are always ready to help you on your journey towards bettering your community!