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NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Charities / Donations - Social Responsibility

Charitable Donation Checklist

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • can only deduct the fair market value for an item
  • fair market value takes into account item's condition and age
  • IRS publication 526 will help you determine your values
  • need a written appraisal for donations of $5000 or more
  • may deduct mileage for dropping off donations
  • contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 when in doubt


  • your donation must be to a qualified organization to be deductible
  • a "tax-exempt" organization doesn't mean "tax-deductible" donation
  • check IRS publication 78 to see if the organization is qualified
  • churches and governments are automatically qualified
  • get a receipt for every donation
  • must itemize your deductions on your tax return
  • to itemize, your deductions must be more than the standard deduction


  • get the charity's information in writing
  • include name, address, and telephone number
  • find out the charity's mission
  • ask how your donation will be used
  • check with the Better Business Bureau in your area
  • get proof that your donation will be tax deductible
  • check out the charity's finances, tax records, or annual report
  • see if the charity is registered with your state at www.nasconet.org
  • visit www.give.org, www.charitywatch.org, or www.guidestar.org


  • be wary of overly-sentimental appeals
  • watch out for names that are similar to larger charities
  • "tax-exempt" or "tax ID" don't mean your donation is deductible
  • "keep for your records" doesn't mean your donation is deductible
  • find out how much is spent on services versus administration


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