As 2013 draws to a close, public charities await year-end contributions, and Packers fans await the potential return of Aaron Rodgers, a charitable receipting “Double Check” is likewise in good order. Donors and donees must remember that a donation alone is not enough for a donor to claim a federal income tax deduction. A proper written acknowledgement from the donee to the donor substantiating the gift must be maintained. Earlier this year, a court in Texas denied a donor a charitable deduction because the written acknowledgment provided by the organization did not include the requisite
Why do people give to charities? Is it the tax break, the satisfaction of helping others, or perhaps a combination of factors? The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Elizabeth Svoboda called “Hard-Wired for Giving,” adopted from her new book What Makes a Hero? The Surprising Science of Selflessness (Aug. 31/ Sept. 1, 2013 WSJ Review). With nary a mention of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), the author instead focuses on how the human brain is apparently built for generosity. Fascinating stuff.
Many states’ charitable solicitation statutes require charities to include mandatory disclosure.
The good news is that the majority of states do not currently require these often verbose disclosure statements be included on a nonprofit’s solicitation materials. Further, other states merely require the charity to include the name and address of the organization, which presumably would occur anyway. And some states require disclosure statements only if a “professional solicitor” is used.