Donations to Charities Providing Relief in Haiti Qualify for 2009 Tax Deduction

The IRS announced that donations to qualified charities providing earthquake relief in Haiti, made after January 11th and before March 1st, 2010, can be claimed on 2009 tax returns. Only cash contributions qualify and the deduction may only be used for taxpayers who itemize. The cash contributions must be made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the January 12th earthquake in Haiti. Taxpayers have the option of deducting these contributions on either the 2009 or 2010 tax return, but not both.

Good record keeping is key to verifying itemized deductions. A phone bill showing the donee organization receiving a text message donation, along with the date and amount of the donation, will satisfy this requirement. Other types of cash contributions can be verified with bank records, such as a cancelled check, or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution.

This law is modeled after the law which allowed taxpayers contributing in January, 2006, to qualified charities serving the areas affected by the December 26, 2005 tsunami in the Indian Ocean region, to deduct the contribution on either the 2005 or 2006 tax return.

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