The IRS cautions people wishing to make charitable donations to avoid scam artists by following these tips:
Donate to recognized charities.
Be wary of phony charities with names or bogus websites that sound or look like those of respected, legitimate organizations. Scammers often send e-mail that steers the recipient to bogus websites that sound as though they are affiliated with legitimate charitable causes.
Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution from you. Scam artists may use this information to steal your identity and money.
Don’t give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the gift.
The IRS website at IRS.gov has a search feature, Exempt Organizations Select Check, that allows people to find legitimate, qualified charities to which donations may be tax-deductible.
To help taxpayers plan their holiday-season and year-end giving, the IRS offers the following additional reminders:
• Contributions are deductible in the year made. • Check that the organization is qualified using the IRS Exempt Organizations Select Check tool. • For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form 1040Schedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. • For all donations of property, including clothing and household items, get from the charity, if possible, a receipt that includes the name of the charity, date of the contribution, and a reasonably-detailed description of the donated property. • If the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly-completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return. • And, as always it’s important to keep good records and receipts.
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