SAN FRANCISCO, CA – If you are one of the people who claim the Standard Withholding and are not filing tax returns, Patch’s Holiday Food still allows you to take a write-off of up to $ 300 on contributions to Feeding America Drive.

Due to specific tax changes made earlier this year, cash donations to certain charities that responded to the coronavirus crisis by the end of the year, including Feeding America, are now deductible when people file their taxes in 2021.

According to Feeding America, the country’s largest famine relief organization, up to 50 million people, including 17 million children, could be starved and food insecure as a result of the pandemic.

To put this in perspective, according to the latest US Department of Agriculture report on household food insecurity, around 35 million people in the US were starving in 2019. Households with children are the most vulnerable to food insecurity. Before the pandemic, more than 10 million children lived in households with unsafe diets.

In San Francisco, Feeding America predicts about 14.2 percent of people will go hungry by the end of the year. In 2018 that number was 10.2 percent.

The special $ 300 deduction was approved under the CARES – Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security – Act last spring. This is an addition to the standard deduction – in 2020 it’s $ 12,400 for single applicants and $ 24,800 for married couples filing together.

“Our nation’s charities are fighting to help those affected by COVID-19, and many deserving organizations can take advantage of any help they can get,” said Chuck Rettig, commissioner for the Internal Revenue Service, in a press release. “The IRS is reminding people that there is a new provision that allows up to $ 300 in cash donations to qualified organizations to be deducted from income. We encourage people to consider this option in order to support tax-exempt organizations – and the people and causes they serve. “

The story goes on

According to the IRS, nearly nine in ten taxpayers are currently taking the standard withholding and could potentially qualify for the new tax withholding. In tax year 2018, the last year for which full figures are available, more than 134 million taxpayers applied for the standard deduction, a little more than 87 percent of all applicants.

Under the new change, individual taxpayers will be able to claim an “above-the-line” deduction of up to $ 300 on cash donations to qualified charities in 2020. This means that the deduction will lower both gross income and taxable income – which translates into tax savings for those who make money donating to the qualified tax-exempt organization.

Other qualified organizations can be found using the Tax Exempt Organization Finder tool on IRS.gov to ensure the organization is eligible for tax-deductible donations.

Cash donations include donations made by check, credit card, or debit card. The IRS is reminding those who see the charitable deduction to keep records of the contributions – such as a receipt or charity letter of confirmation – and to keep any canceled checks or credit card receipts.

The CARES Act also made other provisions to help charities during the pandemic. These include higher contribution limits for nonprofits for businesses, people listing their deductions, and businesses that donate food stocks to food banks and other eligible charities. For more information on these and other coronavirus-related tax breaks, please visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.

The Patch Holiday Food Drive will last until December 31st. For every US dollar you give, Feeding America can deliver 10 meals.

Many of the families suffering from food insecurity are not eligible for federal nutrition programs, and they have to rely on their food banks and other starvation organizations to get enough to eat, according to Feeding America.

Patch and Feeding America teamed up last summer to tackle America’s growing hunger crisis, connect readers to the organization’s 200 member banks offering 60,000 pantries and dining programs, and provide an easy way to donate money to to help their neighbors.

San Francisco – Marin Food Bank is a member of the Feeding America network and offers programs around San Francisco.

According to Feeding America, 80 percent of food banks – or 4 in 5 – serve more people than at the same time last year. As the pandemic worsens over the holiday season, many people who have never thought about how they would pay for a holiday meal turn to food banks for the first time.

Since the pandemic began in March, Feeding America has been handing out 4.2 billion meals – enough to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to every US resident for just over four days.

In the first four months of the pandemic, 4 out of 10 people were first-time visitors to food banks, according to Feeding America.

This is how you support the Patch Holiday Food Drive

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness of the millions of Americans who are starving. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that by 2020 more than 50 million Americans will not have enough nutritious foods to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a social patch project. Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how to donate in your community or find a pantry near you.

– Written by Beth Dalbey / Patch with additional coverage by Bea Karnes / Patch

This article originally appeared on the San Francisco Patch