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Experts: Be Sure Charities are Legitimate Before Taking Tax Deduction

DALLAS – There are more than 1.5 million charitable organizations in the United States, so it can be tough to figure out which ones to choose for your end-of-year tax-deductible donations.

Americans made almost $260 billion in charitable donations last year – but it’s not always easy to tell which charities are on the up and up. One expert says there’s plenty of help online and by phone to assist with your decision

Attorney Beverly Salhanick has this advice: First, familiarize yourself with the group’s mission and find out exactly how it tackles the problem. Next, look online for information from other sources about the charity to see what others are saying about it.

Salhanick said it’s helpful to check out the sites that grade the charities.

“Then you want to look at “Then you want to look at  Charitynavigator.org or at Give.org.  Both of those rate the charities and act as watchdogs, to make sure that they’re doing what they say they’re going to do.”

Salhanick said the Better Business Bureau is another source of information, to see if the organization has any complaints lodged against it. She added that it’s smart to check whether the group actually is considered a charity.

“You can go to the Internal Revenue Service website and see if it’s a 501(c)(3) organization,” she said, “or you can check at Guidestar.org.”

In one recent year, the average Texan who itemizes deductions reported giving about $6,000 to charity, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

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