In the Season of Giving, Don't Forget the Receipt

Monday, Dec 15, 2008  |  Updated 8:24 PM CDT
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In the Season of Giving, Don't Forget the Receipt

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CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 1: Current federal tax forms are distributed at the offices of the Internal Revenue Service November 1, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. A presidential panel today recommended a complete overhaul of virtually every tax law for individuals and businesses. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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North Texans giving to charity should be aware of what information they need to claim a tax deduction, accountants say.

Like many people, Jennifer Holmes said she enjoys being generous.

"It's part of that 'reuse, recycle, help your fellow man' kind of thing," she said.

Alan Levi, a certified public account, said people giving to charity need receipts.

"You have to have a receipt for any donation that you give," he said.

Even if people give to a food bank, they should save the receipt from the grocery store.

The Internal Revenue Service requires even more documentation for cash donations above certain limits.

"If you give $250 or more to an organization, you have to receive a letter from the organization," Levi said.

Donors should make sure the organization is a qualified organization. To check, go to the IRS Web site to find an entire list.

The Better Business Bureau's give.org site also has the information.

The IRS also has strict rules about pledged donations, athletic foundations, raffle tickets and donating time.

Levi said the effort is worth it, because people could save one-fourth of the amount they pay in taxes.

Holmes said she doesn't donate of the tax break, but is happy to take it.

"I guess this year I will," she said. "I got a receipt."

Tax experts say the IRS tightened the rules for charitable giving because so many people were abusing the system. 

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