Tag Archives: charities

Simple Steps to Make Your Charitable Donation Go Further

These days, we all want our money to go further and charitable donations are no exception. Yet sometimes, even well-intentioned gifts may end up going to a poorly run charity or the charity does not receive the full benefit of your gift.

Here are some steps to ensure that your donation makes the biggest impact:

Research the Charity – Make sure the charity you donate to is a good steward of your resources. Websites like www.charitynavigator.org track the financial health and effectiveness of charities. Effective charities spend 75% or more of their resources on their services and 25% or less on fundraising and administrative costs.

Be Proactive – Identify the causes that are most important to you and your family and then target those organizations – it’s just too easy to give haphazardly to whomever asks you for money.

Do Not Give Over the Phone – Charitable telemarketing campaigns generally use for-profit fundraisers who take a percentage of your gift. This means the charity often receives substantially less of your donation if you give over the phone. If you truly support the organization, hang-up. Then contact the charity directly to make your donation.

Focus Your Support – Focus on one or two charities that you are passionate about. Repeat donations from reliable donors save charities money because they don’t have to go looking for more donors and are not wasting money trying to woo uncommitted, one-time donors.

Share Your Intentions – Whether your donation is a one-time gift or part of a long-term commitment, tell the charity so that they do not continue to spend money on seeking more donations from you.

As part of your holiday season of giving, consider giving to a favorite charity. It can also serve as part of your year-end tax planning.

IRS Announces Dirty Dozen Tax Scams – Part 2

Last week we told you about the three largest of the “Dirty Dozen Tax Scams”. This week we will cover the rest.

Return preparer fraud – In conjunction with Identity Theft, many temporary tax preparation offices set up shop and generate fraudulent tax returns. These folks often file a return using stolen information, create refund fraud and other scams that leave you holding the tax obligation when caught.

Offshore accounts – The IRS has taken many enforcement actions in this area after breaking the long-standing secrecy wall of Swiss bank accounts. If you have money in foreign accounts, you must understand the reporting requirements or you could be subject to substantial fines.

Fake charities – After major disasters, many charitable givers are scammed into making donations to fake charities. In addition, new IRS charitable organization reporting requirements are not being followed by many organizations. This makes donations to them non-deductible. To protect against this, make sure the charity is both legitimate and deemed a qualified charity by the IRS before you donate.

Other scams – The other six scams that round out the IRS list include: inflated refund claims, falsely padding deductions, excessive business credit claims, falsifying income to claim credits, abusive tax shelters, and frivolous tax arguments.

If you want more info, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov and click on the News & Events tab/Tax Scams!