Donations and Contributions

by Joy Johnson on February 10, 2015

The IRS released its new “”Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015″. You can find it here.  My concern today is FAKE CHARITIES.  The IRS says, “Fake Charities: Taxpayers should be on guard against groups masquerading as charitable organizations to attract donations from unsuspecting contributors. Contributors should take a few extra minutes to ensure their hard-earned money goes to legitimate and currently eligible charities. IRS.gov has the tools taxpayers need to check out the status of charitable organizations. Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.”

As most of you know, I’m a strong advocate for Animal Rights and am active in circulating petitions and requests for donations for a number of organizations on every continent.  Every single need in the world is matched by humanoids trying to take advantage of the kindness of others, ripping off both the cause and the donors.  Don’t let that happen to your money!  Some of the smooootheset operators are the biggest scam artists. Do not think that a pretty website indicates a worthwhile organization.  Some of the best have small unsophisticated websites, and some of the scam artists have the best.  Dig deeper.

In order to deduct donations on your United States tax return, donations must be to an IRS approved non-profit.  It’s not enough that an organization simply be recognized by the IRS either.  Take it one step further and check on how well it will use your money.  Charity Navigator is a good tool for deciding if an organization will use your money wisely.

One misstep many make is to donate to individuals.  Unless your donation goes to an IRS recognized non-profit, like a church or civic organization, money donated directly to individuals or families is not tax deductible.  Kickstarter and other crowd based fundraising efforts are also not tax deductible unless the entity is IRS recognized.  If you get goods or services in exchange for money you pay, you must always deduct the value of the goods and services from the total cost to arrive at the donation.


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