St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 22, 2010 – The end-of-year battle over taxes in Congress has many Americans wondering how much tax they’ll pay or what they will get back as a refund next year. But one thing is sure: You can only deduct charitable gifts made by the end of the year on this year’s return.
Charities know that many Americans wait until December to make their donations, so mailboxes are stuffed with charitable solicitations as well as catalogs this time of year. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has tips to make your giving more effective as well as deductible.
“Consumers who see the BBB Accredited Charity seal on a charity’s website or other literature can be assured that the charity abides by the BBB’s 20 Standards of Charity Accountability,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB President and CEO. “Of the 571 charities whose reports are available at stlouis.bbb.org, just 143 meet all 20 standards.”
BBB tips that can help you make sure your donation will be used appropriately:
- If you are unfamiliar with an organization, don't hesitate to ask the charity for written information about its programs and finances.
- Don't succumb to pressure to give money on the spot. A charity that can use your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow. Watch out for appeals that bring tears to your eyes, but tell you nothing about how your donation will be used.
- When considering supporting a cause-related marketing campaign, find the answers to these questions: What portion of the purchase price will benefit the charity? What is the duration of the campaign? What is the maximum or minimum total contribution? If the information is not on the item, check the organization’s website.
- Before donating used items make sure they are in good shape to reuse. Donating junk puts an undue burden on the charity and does more harm than good. You may want to consider selling the item and donating the proceeds to a charity.
The BBB urges donors to seek professional advice if they are in doubt about the deductibility of contributions. Other helpful tips for making donations are posted on the BBB website (www.bbb.org). The IRS Web site (www.irs.gov) has information on the deductibility of donations.
Updated BBB reports on charities are available on the BBB website, www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
Contacts: Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-3300, email@example.com, or Chris Thetford, Director of Communications, 314-645-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org