Earlier today the House of Representatives passed a bill to encourage more charitable contributions for recovery in Haiti. Once this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by the President, and I expect it won’t be long until this law is official, those of us who have donated or will donate cash before the end of February will be able to count those donations as 2009 expenses. If you itemize when you file your taxes, you can include these donations.
January 22 update: It’s official: The Senate passed the bill yesterday and the President signed it into law today.
You will also have the option of claiming the deduction with your 2010 taxes if you’d like to wait a year.
Although the bill indicates “cash” donations are the only type that are eligible, checks and credit cards, and even donations sent via text message, are considered cash. If you sent care packages through the mail addressed only to Port-au-Prince, not only is the value of your donation not tax-deductible, it most likely didn’t reach anyone. Here are my choices for tax-deductible contributions to relief efforts in Haiti including Médecins Sans Frontières, The World Food Programme, and due to its massive popularity, the American Red Cross.
If you want to deduct donations given via text message, send an itemized copy of your phone bill to the IRS when you file. Only donations to domestic non-profit organizations are deductible, but many foreign international organizations have qualifying domestic subsidiaries.
Updated April 13, 2011 and originally published January 20, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.