ST. PAUL, MINN. (December 15, 2006) – As Minnesotans are clearing out their closets in search of donations of household goods to make room for those new holiday gifts, the Charities Review Council is pleased to launch its newly redesigned auto and goods donation page on its Web site, just in time for year-end giving.
The redesigned section features a searchable database of charities that accept donations of non-cash items such as clothing, appliances and automobiles. The public can also narrow searches by pick up or drop off availability and geographic location such as Twin Cities metro area and outstate Minnesota.
The charities listed have voluntarily participated in a public review conducted by the Charities Review Council’s Accountability Wizard, which measures an organization’s performance in four critical areas: Public Disclosure, Governance, Financial Activity and Fundraising. The charity reviews help the public determine the trustworthiness of a charity before giving. These reviews are based on adherence to the Council’s Accountability Standards and help charities ensure that their operations, structure and policies meet widely accepted standards for accountability and integrity.
In addition, the Charities Review Council offers the following tips for donors to take advantage of the tax benefits provided under law to encourage charitable giving.
1) Make sure the contribution is tax-deductible: All 501(c) 3 organizations can accept contributions and offer donors a tax deduction to the full extent of the law. Make sure to ask an organization if they are a 501(c) 3 organization before you make a donation.
2) How to receive tax-deductions for charitable donations: To claim deductions, you’ll need to fill out the tax form 1040 (the long form, which allows you to itemize deductions on Schedule A). You can find it at the IRS website. You don’t receive any tax breaks if you fill out the short form or take standard deductions.
3) Pension Protection Act of 2006: Pension Protection Act of 2006 toughened the rules for non-cash donations to charities. No tax deduction is allowed for items in less than good condition.
4) Charitable events: If you attend a charitable event, you may be able to receive a deduction, but not for the entire price of the event. You will not receive deductions for any goods or services that you receive, such as dinner or entertainment. The organization hosting the event should be able to identify the exact value of benefits you receive. After deducting that amount, the rest of the amount you paid for your ticket is deductible.
5) Deductions for volunteering: Although you can’t deduct the value of time or services donated to an organization, you can deduct any costs that are incurred during volunteering, such as gas mileage or the cost of a volunteer uniform.