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Donating to Charity

Before donating to a charity or non-profit organization, make sure to do your research.

. Be certain that the charity is real. Several agencies offer information to help you evaluate the operation of charities:

  • The Internal Revenue Service offers .
  • Check a charity's 501(c)3 status with the IRS' . A charity must have 501(c)3 status if you plan to deduct your donation on your federal taxes.
  • The  in your state often licenses charitable organizations. They may also have records of complaints about charities.
  • The  offers reports about large charities and how they use their funds.

Types of Donations

Monetary

Đang chơi bàiMake financial donations by check or credit card. These payment methods  can help you keep record of your donations. They can also protect you from charity scams.

Goods and Personal Property

Đang chơi bàiSome charities accept non-cash donations, such as clothing and household items. Donate items that are in good (or better) condition. Keep a list of the items you donated, for your taxes. 

Vehicles

Đang chơi bàiYou can donate your car, truck, boat, or other vehicle to a charity. An organization may give a donated vehicle to someone,  use it for operations, or sell it at auction.  If you donate a vehicle, you will need to transfer the title of the to the charity. Also, remove license plates and registration documents before you donate the car.

Other Property

Đang chơi bàiYou may also give other types of items to charities:

  • Art
  • Jewelry
  • Stocks
  • Real Estate
  • Patents

Đang chơi bàiThe may need an expert appraisal. The values could depend on offers to buy the items and the timing of the donation.

Charity Scams

Đang chơi bàiSome scammers set up fake organizations to take advantage of the public’s generosity. They especially take advantage of tragedies and disasters.

How to Report Charity Scams

  • Your state consumer protection office can accept and investigate consumer complaints.

  • File a complaint with the (FTC). The FTC does not resolve individual matters. But it does track charity fraud claims and sues companies on the behalf of consumers.

  • Contact the , if the fraud is because of a natural disaster.

The . But you can ask an organization not to contact you again.

How to Protect Yourself From Charity Scams

to detect common :

Do

  • Check out the charity with your state consumer protection office or the .

  • Đang chơi bàiVerify the name. Fake charities often choose names that are close to well established charities. 

Don’t

  • Don’t give in to high pressure tactics such as urging you to donate immediately.

  • Đang chơi bàiDon’t assume that you can get a tax deduction for donating to an organization. Use the to find out if it has this status.

  • Don’t send cash. Pay with a check or credit card.

. To deduct donations, you must file a with your tax form. With proper documentation, you can claim vehicle or cash donations. Or, if you want to deduct a non-cash donation, you'll also have to fill out a .

How Much Can You Deduct?

The amount of money that you can deduct on your taxes may not be equal to the total amount of your donations.

  • If you donate non-cash items, you can claim the fair market value of the items on your taxes.

  • Đang chơi bàiIf you donated a vehicle, your deduction depends on if the organization keeps the car or sells it at an auction.  “” explains how your deduction is determined.

  • Đang chơi bàiIf you received a gift or ticket to an event, you can only . 

Keep Records of Charitable Donations

Đang chơi bàiTo claim deductions, it’s important to keep records of your donations to charities. You may not have to send these documents with your tax returns, but they are good to keep with your other tax records. Common documents include:

  • of vehicle donations
  • for cash donations
  • for non-cash deductions
. The IRS has specific reporting requirements when a small business donates:  

  • Non-food inventory 
  • Food
  • Intellectual property 

Đang chơi bàiYou won't receive a tax deduction for donating services. But you may be able to deduct expenses related to the donation, like travel or materials.

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Đang chơi bàiLast Updated: August 19, 2020

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