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Checking Your Charitable Gift List … Twice

December 10, 2007

Las Vegas, NV – Despite many Americans' preoccupation with holiday shopping this time of year, we still find time to open our hearts and our wallets. Half of all charitable giving happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to a 2007 (MSNBC) survey.

But Nevada legal experts say, if some of your gifts this year are going to charity, you may want to take additional precautions. Beverly Salhanick, of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, explains Santa is not the only one who should check the list twice.

"What you want to do is be careful about who you give to, and be sure that it's somebody that not only meets your goals for giving, but is also a legitimate organization. There are a number of places that you can call to double-check; one is the Better Business Bureau."

Salhanick also suggests the online sources www.gifts.org, and www.charitynavigator.org. The Internal Revenue Service is another source to ask about the charitable status of a group soliciting money. Salhanick says your donations should be made either by credit card or check.

"The IRS is getting a little stricter, and you just can't just use a note that says, 'Oh, I gave $500 dollars to the XYZ charity.' They want to see the canceled check, or they want to have a credit card receipt showing that you did, in fact, make that donation."

Michael Clifford/John Robinson, Public News Service - NV