Sunday, September 6, 2009

Try a little charity tax advice, and Starfish is now StarfishRescue

Don't be confused by the name change.  I just decided that if I ever decide to go for my 501(c)3 status, that the name would be StarfishRescue, so I thought, what the heck, maybe I'd better change the blog name now before it gets as popular as I'd like it to be.  Yes, I know it's slow building right now, I'm trying to get the hang of this computer thingy as well as this bloggy thingy.  Bear with and hopefully I'll get a good blog going.

Speaking of 501(c)3s, did you know that not all charities qualify for this tax status and not all that do are willing to go through the expense and trouble of qualifying?   Or, that they can lose the designation even if they do nothing wrong.  Not having the status doesn't mean they are not legit, as long as they follow local laws, and declare any donations as regular income.  If you donate to an accredited 501(c)3, you can use it as a deduction on your income tax IF you have enough deductions to use the schedule A (or have to because of marital status), IF the deductions are still enough after doing the math, IF the charity is one approved by the IRS, and IF you have a receipt.  How do I know this?  I am a tax preparer for a large chain, and people are always shocked to find out they can't necessarily deduct their donations, and that it isn't dollar for dollar anyway.

Did you know that  you can donate to any charity you like, there is not law against it, but you cannot deduct that donation from your income?  But a lot of the time, your donation to even the biggest charities can not be deducted because you don't met all the IF's.  So if you want to donate to a small group or individual doing charitable work, and it won't affect your taxes anyway, consider it.  BUT, before you do, ask questions.  What is the money used for, what exactly is the aim of the charity, do you feel that you can trust the charity.  Don't be surprised if they don't have a separate bank account for their charity, many are too small and receive little or no donations coming in, except maybe from their mothers, and it has to be included in their income anyway.  If it worries you, though, give goods, such as food, blankets, towels, sheets, the ever needed carriers, and if it is a TNR group, traps and dishes.  Better yet, volunteer some time, or help find homes for the adoptable pets out there.  Adopt if you can.  Adoptions are down across the nation with the current economy, people are afraid of losing their homes, and abandonment is on the rise, the numbers are overwhelming in some communities.  But just think,  if you can find just one home for just one pet out there, you will have made a difference to that one, which is the StarfishRescue philosophy.

Now go out there and hug someone.

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