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Good Record Keeping Part of Charitable Giving
December 12, 2007 - The spirit of giving seems to grow during the holiday season, and many donations are made to charitable causes at this special time of year. The IRS reminds taxpayers to keep some important points in mind when making donations with the expectation of deducting them on a federal tax return.
Taxpayers can deduct donations only if they make them to a qualified tax exempt organization. Generally, organizations other than churches and governments must apply to the IRS to become qualified as tax exempt.
"Taxpayers can search for most tax exempt charitable organizations online at IRS.gov with Publication 78," said IRS spokesperson Jodie Reynolds. “Qualified organizations include nonprofit groups that are religious, charitable, educational, scientific, or literary in purpose, or that work to prevent cruelty to children or animals. Generally, organizations will be able to tell you whether they are tax exempt under the Internal Revenue Code and eligible to accept tax-deductible donations."
Reynolds added that it is necessary to file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A to receive a charitable contribution deduction. Be sure to keep good records, too.
To deduct any charitable donation of money, a taxpayer must have a bank record, credit card statement or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. A bank record includes canceled checks, bank or credit union statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity and the date and amount donated. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the transaction posting date and the amount donated. Prior law allowed taxpayers to support their donations of money with personal bank registers, diaries or notes made around the time of the donation. Those types of records are no longer sufficient.
More information about charitable donations can be found in IRS Publication 526, available online at IRS.gov, or requested by calling, toll-free, 1-800-TAX-FORM.
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