It's a done deal. The Senate today followed House action and unanimously approved legislation that will let taxpayers claim donations to Haiti on their 2009 tax returns.
The bill now goes to the prez, who's expected to sign it shortly.
Without the bill, donors would have to wait until next year to claim the charitable gifts on their 2010 taxes. But now, donations made between Jan. 12, the day the earthquake devastated Haiti, and Feb. 28 can count on this year's filings.
Of course, make sure you choose the tax year that gives you the biggest benefit. If it works better for you to claim your donation on your 2010 Schedule A, then by all means wait to do so.
Text substantiation: The bill also acknowledges the new and popular text giving option. The American Red Cross as well as other nonprofits have been accepting donations via text messages.
Although the methodology is new, the same tax rules apply. The charity must be IRS approved. You must itemize to claim the gift. And you need a receipt in case the tax collector later has questions.
Through mGive, a text donor could print out a receipt for gifts to the Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the United Way and select other charities. However, the new Haiti donation deduction bill specifically says that you don't have to do that.
Donors can use their phone bills to document their gifts, as long as the bills list the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution.
- Red Cross receipts for text donations
- Special tax breaks proposed for Haitian earthquake relief donations
- Craig's wise words about Haiti's crisis
- Year-end Money Moves 2009: Giving
- The 12 Tax Tips of Christmas: #4 Be Charitable
- Keep the giving going
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