Kokua Line: No tax break for giving blood, but each donation can help save 3 lives
Question: I donate blood so often, and for so many years, that the community newsletter did a write-up. After that, neighbors started asking whether I deduct my blood donations as charitable contributions from my income taxes.
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Question: I donate blood so often, and for so many years, that the community newsletter did a write-up. After that, neighbors started asking whether I deduct my blood donations as charitable contributions from my income taxes. I had never even thought of doing that. Could I? If yes, how would I value them, and how many years can I go back to claim them?
Answer: No, blood donations are not deductible as charitable contributions to reduce your income taxes, the Internal Revenue Service explains in Publication 526, which you can read at 808ne.ws/pub526.
“You can’t deduct the value of your time or services, including blood donations to the American Red Cross or to blood banks,” it states on Page 7.
You obviously haven’t been motivated by money all these years, and we hope this answer doesn’t change your lifesaving habit.
Another reader asked a similar question, wondering whether blood counts as property under the IRS rule that allows tax-deductible gifts of money or property to qualified nonprofit organizations. The answer, again, is no; blood donations are categorized as time or services and are not tax- deductible.
Q: Does the blood bank pay donors?
A: No. “Blood Bank of Hawaii collects blood from volunteer donors and does not offer any type of payment. Studies have shown that volunteer donors provide the safest blood supply. However, there is the reward of knowing that your one donation will save up to three lives,” the Blood Bank of Hawaii states on its website.
Q: Is it still possible to get a 2019 Okinawan Festival T-shirt? I want one but don’t know how to go about it since the festival is over.
A: Yes, there are some T-shirts left, and they will be for sale at the Autumn Okinawa Dance Matsuri, which is scheduled for Saturday from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hawaii Okinawa Center, 94-587 Ukee St. in Waipio. Cash only.
If T-shirts remain after Saturday’s event — billed as the last bon dance of the season — they will be sold at the Hawaii Okinawa Center during business hours. Call 676-5400 for more information.
This information comes from the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, the umbrella organization that runs the annual Okinawan Festival. This year’s event, the 37th, was held Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
Q: What do we do if the trash isn’t picked up?
A: You clarified in a follow-up phone call that you live on one of Oahu’s automated three-cart collection routes, with gray (rubbish), blue (mixed recyclables) and green (green waste) carts.
If your gray cart is not emptied on your scheduled collection day, leave it at the curb; the city will try to get to it the next day or as soon as possible, according to the Department of Environmental Services. If your blue or green cart was skipped, you can leave that color out, too, but only until the following day at 7 p.m. If the blue or green cart is not emptied by then, return it to your property and place it at the curb on its next scheduled collection date, the city says.
Even with all the news about the lack of affordable housing on Oahu, we’re not paying enough attention to the need for housing for adults with disabilities. My adult son has autism and can hold a meaningful job but needs extra support with managing a household so that he could live on his own. I fear what will happen to him after we die, because there are no suitable group homes that we can find and a severe lack of support services for semi-independent adults. I don’t expect you to solve this problem, but I wish you could at least get it out there so that more people will think about it. — Worried mother
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.