As 2014 draws to a close, charitable donations appear to have gently risen from past years. Donors and charitable beneficiaries should be aware of IRS guidance on charitable giving and tax deductions so that good intentions don't become a problem later down the line.

Individuals who routinely foster animals on behalf of tax-exempt charitable organizations may wish to (carefully!) consider whether or not their activities qualify as charitable contributions.

Sadly, no tax deductions are available to me for accidentally feeding the squirrel who lives next door by having my bird feeder in his tree. I hope he enjoyed his suet.