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IRS Haiti Disaster Relief Information for Charitable Contributions

Many individuals, businesses, and charitable organizations wish to provide assistance to the victims of Haiti's recent earthquake. Contributions to domestic, tax-exempt, charitable organizations that provide assistance to individuals in foreign lands qualify as tax-deductible contributions for federal income tax purposes, provided that the U.S. organization has control and discretion over the use of funds. Donors should ensure that they make contributions to qualified charities.

You can go to the IRS website to determine whether the charity you intend to support is a qualified charity. Certain organizations, such as churches or governmental organizations, may be qualified to accept charitable contributions, even though they are not listed on the IRS's website.

Additionally, on January 22, 2010, the IRS enacted a special tax relief provision for taxpayers who itemize deductions on their 2009 returns. People who give to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti can claim these donations on the tax return they are completing this season. Only cash contributions made to these charities after Jan. 11, 2010, and before March 1, 2010, are eligible. This includes contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card. The new law only applies to cash (as opposed to property) contributions. The contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti. Taxpayers have the option of deducting these contributions on either their 2009 or 2010 returns, but not both.

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