Deadline for Haiti 2009 Deduction Ends Sunday

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If you haven't made a contribution to help Haiti, you might want to think about it within the next day or so. Especially if you could use a break on your 2009 taxes.

Haiti is one the poorest countries in the world, politically unstable and in the path of numerous hurricanes each year.

On January 12th, the latest disaster hit: a massive earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and left more than a million people homeless. You’d have to have a heart of stone to ignore the need.

But in addition to good karma, those answering the call maybe also get a good tax benefit because monetary contributions are deductible on either 2009 or 2010 income taxes.

Normally, donations made after December 31, 2009 wouldn’t be deductible on a 2009 tax return, but a special provision enacted on January 22 allows you to pick which year you want to take the deduction. Typically, donations to foreign organizations aren’t tax-deductible, but an exception to this rule has also been granted for Haiti relief.

But time is running out.

According to the IRS, “Individuals and corporations have until midnight on Sunday, Feb. 28, to make cash contributions to charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti. Contributions made after that date but before the end of the year can only be claimed on a 2010 return”.

While there are dozens of qualified charities helping Haiti, here are a few of the most popular:

If you made a donation or you’re planning to by the February 28th deadline, you qualify to pick the year your deduction will do you the most good. However, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Donations to individuals are never deductible.
  • Charitable donations must be itemized.
  • Money must go to a qualified charity.
  • You’ll need a receipt.
  • Donations made via text message need to appear on your phone bill.
  • Donations via text message of $250 or more need written acknowledgment from the charity.

And if you need to learn how to find a charity you can trust, watch the following 90-second news story for 4 things you should know before donating.

Stacy Johnson

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