Japan disaster provides proving ground for IRS tax scams

By Martin DiGiovine, tax attorney, Schneider Downs
In the aftermath of the recent catastrophes in Japan, the tremendous generosity of average Americans will once again be in full swing, providing food, medicine and other aid to the disaster affected area.

However, at times like these, unscrupulous solicitors have been known to emerge, ready to divert funds away from their intended purpose and into their own pockets.

In order to minimize the impact of possible scams, the IRS has provided some information to individuals, businesses and charitable organizations that wish to provide assistance to the victims in Japan.

The IRS suggests that donors check their website to confirm that a charitable organization providing relief to Japan is a qualified charity.

The IRS also suggests consulting Disaster Relief Resources for Charities and Donors to get information about how to provide assistance to victims through a charitable organization.

Contributions to domestic tax-exempt, charitable organizations that provide assistance to individuals in foreign lands qualify as tax-deductible contributions for federal income tax purposes, provided that the U.S. organization has control and discretion over the use of funds. Certain organizations, such as churches or governmental organizations, may be qualified to accept charitable contributions, even though they are not listed.
To ensure the deductibility of donations, be sure to confirm that the charity you contribute to is a U.S. based charity.
For further information, please contact Marty DiGiovine, Schneider Downs Tax Advisory Services.


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