In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, you may be looking to make a charitable donation to support relief efforts. With dozens of organizations accepting donations, it can be difficult to know (1) whether you are donating to a reputable organization and avoiding scams, and (2) if your donation will be tax-deductible.
Charity Navigator rates charities based on financial health, accountability, and transparency. It has compiled a list of highly-rated organizations that are responding to Harvey and to Irma. Charity Navigator has a detailed rating page for each listed charity. While the site cannot guarantee that any of the listed organizations will direct 100% of donations toward hurricane relief efforts, it is a helpful starting point for planning your relief donations.
Securing a tax deduction for your donation is probably not your primary motivation, but it can be an added bonus. IRS.gov’s Exempt Organizations Select Check allows users to look up whether a charitable organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. The quickest way to do so is to enter the organization’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), which Charity Navigator lists at the top of each organization’s page on its site.
These tools will help you donate wisely and secure a tax deduction while helping communities in need. If you would like to learn more about charitable donations, including how they can relate to your estate planning, contact a trusts and estates attorney.
Janene B. Reilly is an attorney in Obermayer’s Philadelphia office, focusing her practice in the areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration. She can be reached at 215-665-3062 or Janene.Reilly@obermayer.com
*The author would like to acknowledge Emily Friedman for providing assistance with the research and writing of this article.