Check Charities' Status Before Making Donations to Hurricane Katrina Victims, IRS Says

Check Charities' Status Before Making Donations to Hurricane Katrina Victims, IRS Says

News story posted in Information Release on 7 September 2005| comments
audience: National Publication | last updated: 18 May 2011
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Summary

The IRS has advised individuals making donations to help Hurricane Katrina victims to seek out qualified charities by checking an IRS-approved list or by searching for volunteer agencies with whom the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working.
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IR-2005-86

Date: Sep. 1, 2005

IRS Urges Citizens to Seek Qualified Charities for
Katrina Help

The IRS has advised (IR-2005-86) individuals making donations to help Hurricane Katrina victims to seek out qualified charities by checking an IRS-approved list or by searching for volunteer agencies with whom the Federal Emergency Management Agency is working; information from the IRS is available at http://www.irs.gov/charities and FEMA-related information is available at http://www.firstgov.gov.

Citizens seeking to make donations to help Hurricane Katrina victims should seek out qualified charities, the Internal Revenue Service said today.

People who have a specific charity in mind can make sure that it is a qualified charity by searching an IRS-approved list. IRS.gov has an on-line search feature that allows people to find qualified charities. Some organizations, such as churches and governments, may be qualified even though they are not listed.

The IRS does not endorse any charity. However, the Federal Emergency Management Administration has urged citizens to make cash donations to volunteer agencies with whom it is working. The U.S. government's official Web portal, FirstGov.gov, also contains disaster-relief information.

In addition, the IRS has prepared Publication 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations, that may be helpful for people who either want to make contributions or form a specific charity.

"We encourage citizens to make sure their contributions are put to the best use possible to help Hurricane Katrina victims," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "The IRS will do everything possible to assist both taxpayers and charities in this difficult time."

The IRS also issued these following reminders to citizens and charities:

  • Publication 78 lists charities with tax-exempt status, and a searchable on-line version is available through IRS.gov;
  • Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, provides information on making contributions to charities;
  • Taxpayers may claim a deduction for contributions to charitable organizations only if they itemize deductions on Schedule A of their Form 1040. They should retain proof of the contribution and, if the amount is more than $250, must obtain an acknowledgement from the charity for the amount to be deductible.

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