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Thursday June 30, 2016

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IRS Consumer Alert After Orlando Tragedy

After the major tragedy in Orlando, the IRS published IR-2016-89 to remind taxpayers to follow good giving practices.

When there is a serious national event, good-hearted Americans respond with generous gifts to help those in need. This also happened after the Orlando attack. In helping those in need, everyone should follow prudent giving practices. There are several simple steps in the IRS letter that help donors make proper and effective gifts.

1. Recognized Charities – Make your gifts to those organizations with long-standing good reputations. Use and Pub. 526, Charitable Contributions, to learn how you can make effective gifts and qualify for charitable deductions.

2. Similar Names – Be careful to make sure you are giving to the right organization. Some tricksters use common names for phantom charities. Many of these names will be quite similar to those of respected charities. You may find out more about nonprofits on with the “Exempt Organizations Select Check.”

3. Personal Information – A phone solicitor does not need your Social Security number, credit card number or bank number. Do not give out personal information over the phone.

4. Cash Gifts – You should generally avoid gifts of cash. Make your gifts by check or credit card. For gifts of clothing, furniture, household goods or vehicles, you will need specific information to qualify for your deduction. IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, explains how to qualify for a charitable deduction for these gifts.

Published June 24, 2016
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