IRS Offers Tips On Earthquake Relief Donations

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MOUNTAINSIDE—With recovery efforts underway many people may wish to contribute to relief funds for the victims of Haiti’s recent earthquake. Contributions for Haitian earthquake victims may be tax deductible.

The IRS also wants to remind people to ensure that their donations are made to reputable organizations and not fall victim to fraudulent scams. Such fraudulent schemes may be perpetrated through the telephone, Internet, e-mail or in-person solicitations.

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“Chose carefully and wisely when making donations to aid the earthquake victims,” said Gregg Semanick, New Jersey’s IRS spokesman.  “We encourage people to be prudent and careful when they are solicited for disaster donations.”

The IRS offers these tips for making charitable contributions:

• Contributions to domestic, tax-exempt, charitable organizations that provide assistance to individuals in foreign lands qualify as tax-deductible contributions for federal income tax purposes, provided that the U.S. organization has full control and discretion over the uses of such funds.  Contributions to foreign organizations generally are not deductible.  Contributions to benefit specific individuals or families are also not deductible.

• Contributions are deductible in the year made. To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution.  For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions.

• IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, provides information on making contributions to charities. IRS Publication 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations, explains how the public can use charitable organizations to help victims of disasters.

• Donors should ensure that their contributions go to qualified charities. Taxpayers who have a specific charity in mind can make sure it’s a qualified charity by doing a search on IRS.gov by inputting the term “Search for Charities” in the search feature. Some organizations, such as churches or governments, may be qualified even though they are not listed on IRS.gov.

For additional information on charitable giving go to the IRS.gov web site.


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