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Be Sure Charities are Legitimate Before Taking Tax Deduction

Many people wait until year's end to donate to charities, and sometimes find out the hard way that not all of them are legitimate. (Casper1774/iStockphoto)
Many people wait until year's end to donate to charities, and sometimes find out the hard way that not all of them are legitimate. (Casper1774/iStockphoto)
December 30, 2016

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.

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
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.

Mark Richardson, Public News Service - TX