February 28, 2010 is the last day to make deductible 2009 charitable contributions for Haiti relief


By Ron Kramer

February 28, 2010, is the last day for individuals who itemize their deductions and for corporations to make cash contributions to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti for those contributions to be deductible on their 2009 tax returns. Cash contributions made after that date, and before the end of 2010, can only be claimed on a 2010 tax return.

This special tax relief provision applies only to cash donations, including donations made by text, e-mail, check and credit or debit cards on or before February 28, 2010. The special rules do not apply to contributions of property.

The cash donations must be made to qualified charities, specifically for the relief of victims in the areas affected by the January 12 earthquake.

For tax purposes, you must keep a record of any deductible donations made. For donations by text message, a telephone bill should show:

(1) the name of the donee organization;
(2) the date of the contribution; and
(3) the amount of the contribution.

Also, if the text donation is for $250 or more, a written acknowledgment from the charity must be obtained for your records. For other cash contributions, be sure to keep a bank record, such as a cancelled check or credit card statement, or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. A written acknowledgement should be obtained from the charity for check or credit card donations of $250 or more.

Be sure to advise your tax preparer of any 2010 Haiti Relief contributions if you wish to claim them on your 2009 tax return.

Schneider Downs provides accounting, tax, wealth management and business advisory services through innovative thought leaders who deliver the expertise to meet the individual needs of each client. Our offices are located in Pittsburgh, PA, and Columbus, OH.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax-related matter.

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