Friday, January 22, 2010

Donations to Haiti May Be Deductible on 2009 US Returns


If you made a charitable contribution to the relief effort in Haiti, you may be able to claim a deduction on your 2009 tax return.

Normally, contributions are deductible only for the same tax year in which they are made. But both houses of Congress moved quickly to make an exception, which allows taxpayers who itemize their tax deductions to deduct their donations on their 2009 returns for qualified Haiti disaster relief. President Obama is expected to sign the measure shortly.

There are a few stipulations. The contributions, which must be monetary, must have been made after Jan. 11 but before March 1, according to a CCH Tax Briefing (PDF). And donations must be made to a domestic charity that is assisting Haiti.

And remember to keep your receipts. Generally, a bank record or written communication from the charity will suffice, but it should include the charity’s name, along with the date and amount of the contribution. If you made a donation through your cellphone via text message, keep your telephone bill, which must also show the name of the organization and the date and amount of your donation.

Taxpayers can choose to take the deduction in 2009 or 2010.

More tax breaks to help Haiti may be on the way, including an enhanced deduction for the donation of food inventory, CCH said.

For tips on safe and efficient Haiti giving, see our post from last week here. And for a link to advice from aid workers themselves on how to help, click here.

Source: NyTimes

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