As you have no doubt heard there was a 7.0 earthquake in Haiti that has caused widespread damage. Several nonprofit organizations received donations from Americans. People who gave to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti can claim their donations on the tax return they are completing this season
Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their 2009 return qualify for this special tax relief provision. Only cash contributions made to these charities after Jan. 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010, are eligible. This includes contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card.
Taxpayers can benefit from their donations, almost immediately, by filing their 2009 returns early, filing electronically and choosing direct deposit. Refunds take as few as ten days and can be directly deposited into a savings, checking.
The contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Taxpayers have the option of deducting these contributions on either their 2009 or 2010 returns, but not both. To get a tax benefit, taxpayers must itemize their deductions on Schedule A.
Taxpayers should be sure their contributions go to qualified charities.Donors can find out more about organizations helping Haitian earthquake victims from agencies such as USAID. The IRS reminds donors that contributions to foreign organizations generally are not deductible.
Federal law requires that taxpayers keep a record of any deductible donations they make. For donations by text message, a telephone bill will meet the recordkeeping requirement if it shows the name of the donee organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the contribution. For cash contributions made by other means, be sure to keep a bank record, such as a cancelled check, or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution.