Monday, January 14, 2013

Tax Time Resources Make Deductions Easy for Donors and Volunteers

For philanthropists who have donated funds to The Red Cross and other non-profit organizations, tax time offers a welcome financial bonus to the less-quantifiable benefits of charitable giving. However, it is not always clear how best to navigate tax season and to provide the IRS with the information they need to properly assess one's deductible giving for the year. Thankfully, the IRS and The Red Cross have several resources available for donors who want to ensure the accuracy of their tax forms in regards to charitable giving.

The IRS Web site provides eight helpful tips for deducting charitable donations on applicable tax forms. For donations made to The Red Cross, donations must be recorded and a receipt for the donation must be provided to substantiate the gift for tax purposes. Donors who have given to The Red Cross should be given a receipt for their gift within three weeks of a financial contribution, which itemizes and documents donations for tax purposes. However, receipts and donation history are also available online from The Red Cross as well. To retrieve a donation receipt or to review donor history, donors can log on to The Red Cross' tax receipt Web site.

While most donor records should be available and searchable through The Red Cross Web site, donors can also call donor services at 1-800-RED-CROSS to obtain a receipt for their gift. Donors who gave using a mobile service (i.e., texting a donation code) can obtain documentation by visiting and following instructions at the site.

Volunteers who donated time to Red Cross efforts this year can also deduct the mileage they travelled to deployment sites. The standard rate for mileage deduction is 14 cents per mile. Additionally, according to the folks at Taxwise Giving, incidental expenses incurred during a volunteer deployment or engagement can be deducted as well (these might include postage stamps, supplies or phone calls). More information on deducting volunteering expenses can be obtained by contacting Volunteer Services at the chapter for which volunteers worked, or by visiting the Taxwise Giving's page regarding volunteer expenses.

While tax time can present many challenges to the philanthropic taxpayer, substantiating and maximizing one's deductible gifts has never been easier. For more information regarding gifts to The Red Cross and tax deductibility, visit The Red Cross' FAQ on financial contributions here.

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