Haiti Donation Deadline Looms

If you want to claim your Haiti relief donation on either your individual or business tax return for 2009, you must make those donations by midnight, Sunday, Feb. 28, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions made after that date but before the end of the year can only be claimed on a 2010 return.Contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card to qualified charities (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf) designated for relief of victims in areas affected by the Jan.12 earthquake in Haiti count for this special option. Property contributions are not eligible. Notice 1396 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1396.pdf), a one-page notice describing this provision, is available on IRS.gov and is printed in English, Spanish, French and Haitian Creole.Be sure to keep a record of any deductible donations you make. For donations by text message, a telephone bill meets the recordkeeping requirement if it shows the name of the charitable organization and the date and amount of the contribution. If the text message donation is for $250 or more, you must obtain a written acknowledgement from the charity. For cash contributions made by other means, be sure to keep a bank record, such as a cancelled check, or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Publication 526 has further details on the recordkeeping rules for cash contributions (http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ar02.html#en_US_publink1000229833).