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Here at year end many people are preparing to make charitable donations. As long as the checks are in the mail by December 31st, 2016, you will be able to write off the donation on your 2016 tax return. If you are making your donation using a bank-issued credit card, you can claim the write-off in the year you charged the expense, even if you pay the bill in the next year. Retailer-issued credit cards must claim the write-off in the year the bill is paid.