Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Feb. 28 is Last Day for Special 2009 Haiti Relief

Only a few days left to make Haiti relief donations and claim them on your 2009 income tax return.

Under a special provision due to the recent earthquake, contributions to Haiti relief between Jan. 12 and midnight Sunday, Feb. 28 can be claimed on either the 2009 or 2010 tax return. Contributions made after Feb. 28 but before the end of the year can only be claimed on the 2010 return.
  • Contributions can be in the form of text message, check, credit card or debit card and must be made to qualified charities. Gifts made to individual victims and foreign organizations are not deductible. Non-cash donations are not eligible for this special provision.
  • Donations charged to a credit card before the end of February count for 2009 - even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until after Feb. 28.
  • Checks count for 2009 as long as they are mailed by the end of this month and clear your financial institution shortly thereafter.
There is a record keeping requirement for all donations. Keep a bank record, cancelled check, receipt from the charity – needs to list the name of the recipient organization, the date and the amount of the contribution. For cash contributions of $250 or more, donors must obtain a written acknowledgement from the charity.

Taxpayers who wish take advantage of this special provision must itemize their deductions by claiming the amount donated on line 15 of the Schedule A. Those who claim the standard deduction are not eligible.

For more information, refer to IRS Publication 526 for more information.

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