The Woodward News

Local News

December 8, 2012

Charitable giving can give you relief at income tax time

Woodward, Okla. — After the joys of Christmas come the frustrations of tax season.

However, those who make donations to charities during this season of giving may be able to ease a little of their tax burdens.

But officials with the Internal Revenue Service say that those planning on counting their charitable contributions toward tax deductions need to keep a few things in mind.

One of the first things to consider is that only certain types of tax filers are able to get a tax benefit from charitable donations.

"The people who itemize deductions are the ones who benefit from making contributions to qualified charitable organizations," IRS spokesman David Stell said.  "And that's typically one-third of all taxpayers."

MAKE SURE ORGANIZATION IS A QUALIFIED CHARITY

But in order to get the benefit, Stell said that taxpayers need to make sure the charities they are donating to are "qualified charitable organizations."

"This comes into play with lesser well-known charities.  When you're giving to the Red Cross, you know you're okay.  But when it comes to smaller charities with names you don't recognize, it's probably best to check them out," Stell said, noting "this is especially important if you're giving a sizable donation, because if you want to use that for a tax deduction, you have to make sure the organization is qualified."

He said there are a couple of ways to determine whether a certain charity qualifies for tax deductible donations: "check the irs.gov website or directly question the organization."

By visiting the IRS.gov website, Stell said that taxpayers can use the Exempt Organizations Select Check tool.

"The select check tool is a way that they can type in the name of an organization into the search box and see if in fact it is a qualified charity for tax deduction purposes," he said.

Or he said that people can simply ask the charity directly whether it is a qualified organization.

"If there is a concern, you can ask them to show you their tax exempt determination letter," Stell said about situations when you are making a donation in person.

Or if you are making a contribution online, he said, "Many organizations' websites will tell you if they are qualified charitable organizations and if donations to them are tax deductible."

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