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Special Tax Deduction for Haiti Donations Made in 2010

Most of us watched as the horrible events unfolded after the earthquake hit Haiti on January 12th, 2010, eventually killing over 217,000 people. Financial aid began pouring into the ravaged country, totaling more than $625 million at the writing of this article. However, much more is going to be needed to bring a country that was already on the brink of poverty back to an acceptable, stable state.

The U.S. government has extended the deadline for Haitian donations deductible on your 2009 tax returns to February 28, 2010 through the Haiti Assistance Income Tax Incentive Act, signed by President Obama on January 22, 2010. Here’s some information on where to donate and how to claim your tax deduction:

Donation Resources

Donations must be monetary in order to take a tax deduction, and also must be given to a U.S. charity for specific use to the Haitian disaster relief.

A fantastic list of resources, including a description of how your donations will be used [1], has been compiled by CNN. Each of these charities has been highly rated by Charity Navigator [2], a website that rates charities based on two broad areas of financial health: their organizational efficiency and their organizational capacity.

Necessary Documentation for Haiti Tax Deduction

You must keep documentation showing that you made this donation (you do not need to submit this documentation if you e-file, but keep it on file in case of an audit). The documentation could be a bank statement, a cell phone bill (if you donate through text messaging), a thank you letter from the charity, a credit card statement, etc. Make sure it includes the name of the charity you donated to, the amount that you donated, and the date of the contribution. For donations of $250 or more, it is required that you have a record from the charity as proof.

How to Claim Haiti Tax Deduction

The deduction is available to those who itemize [3]. Deduct your donation on Schedule A [4] of your 1040 form [5] under the “Gifts to Charity” section, Line 16 (‘Gifts by cash or check’). See instructions on page A-8 [6] for more information.