In January 2010, phone technology and philanthropy came together, with millions donated via texts to help survivors of the Haiti earthquake.
That new-style contribution infrastructure is being put to use again in the wake of the 8.9 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan today.
Several groups are accepting text donations:
- American Red Cross, text REDCROSS to 90999
- Salvation Army, text JAPAN to 80888
- Convoy of Hope, text TSUNAMI to 50555
- GlobalGiving, text JAPAN to 50555
- World Relief, text WAVE to 50555
The last three groups on the list are featured SMS, or short message service, relief efforts at mGive Foundation, a Denver, Colo.-based charity that works to expand the scope and reach of mobile philanthropy.
Tax receipt requirements: Each text pledge is for $10 and will be routed to nonprofits providing disaster relief. Your donation will show up on your next cell phone bill.
When the text donation method took off last year, the IRS issued guidance regarding the tax law requiring that donors keep a record of any deductible donations.
You don't have to submit donation receipts when you claim the itemized tax deduction, but you'll need it if the IRS questions your gift. Without a receipt, the examining agent can automatically disallow your deduction.
For texted charitable gifts, the IRS says a telephone bill meets the record-keeping requirement if it shows the name of the organization receiving your donation, the date of the contribution and the amount given.
So when that bill arrives, hang onto it for your 2011 tax filing records.
If you're more comfortable with the by-now old-fashioned online way of giving, each of the charitable organizations also accept donations at their websites.
Or you can call the groups to make a credit card donation or, if you're even older-fashioned when it comes to donations, mail them a paper check.
With these types of donations, be sure to keep a bank record, such as a cancelled check, or a receipt from the charity. Again, receipts should show the name of the charity, the date and the amount of the contribution.
And thanks for your generosity, whichever form it takes.
- Japanese earthquake, international donation rules
- Tax rules for charitable giving
- Deductions demand documentation
- Special tax breaks proposed for Haitian earthquake relief donations
- Haiti earthquake anniversary and charitable deduction reminder
- Keep the giving going
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