All Articles Tagged "charitable contributions"
Of course, Creflo’s Project G650 campaign, the fundraising effort launched by Creflo Dollar Ministries to raise $65 million for a private plane, didn’t sit well with people (to put it mildly). While many people tithe to their church to help fund church constructions and social programs, few would want to pay for luxury travel for their pastor.
Still African-Americans do like to give money. In fact, according to research by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Blacks make more donations to charity than their white counterparts. And high on the list is giving to their place of worship. According to some estimates reported by Urban Intellectuals, Black churches have collected more than $420 billion in tithes and donations since 1980.
But even if you give money from the goodness of your heart, it is important to be smart in how and why you give.
Now tithing is tricky because it comes with a set of rules set by churches. “Tithing is an act of obedience with clear guidelines of giving your first ten percent of any increase you get. Therefore, as you receive wages, your first ten percent goes to your local church where you are spiritually fed. This is before you pay bills and any other obligations,” Keroy King, a Christian women empowerment expert and founder of the Life Then Finance online community, tells MadameNoire.
Find out how your church handles receipts for such donations, especially if your giving is mainly through the basket. “Most churches do keep a record of all your giving activity and provide an annual statement. With this statement in hand, yes you are allowed to have a deduction. Please remember, depending on how large the sums you have given, there are additional requirements that need to be fulfilled. It’s best to consult with your tax professional at the time of filing for the most updated tax requirements,” says King, whose own church does not give out receipts but instead provides an annual statement of all donations she has made throughout the year.
According to California-based taxation attorney Jeff Balsz the IRS does have a rule about “basket donations.”
“[F]rom the IRS’s own mouth: ‘If you gave your church $25 each week for a total of $1,300, treat each $25 payment as a separate gift,” says Balsz. “This means you will not necessarily need a statement from the church, unless you gave $250 or more in any single gift, even if you ended up giving more than $250 in a year.” Balsz suggests keeping a log of your donations.
But the best course is to drop in a check which gives you a paper trail, or use a labeled envelope with your name on it so the church can track for you instead of cash. Keep in mind, any amount you give is deductible. Once you reach that $250 mark, you should have a receipt on hand for deductions purposes.
“Any money that is given to a church or a 501(c)3 organization is tax-deductible. Churches need only identify themselves as such to qualify in giving the tax deduction to donors. All other organizations must register with the IRS and receive a letter indicating their tax exempt status. Any charity that has received this letter and is current in all their tax filings is listed on the IRS website,” Catherine Chapman, philanthropic consultant at Fullanthropy explains to MadameNoire.
Be choosy on who and what organizations you give money to, this includes churches. “Following the ‘seed-time and harvest principle’, no farmer would plant seed in unfertile ground. You should prayerfully consider where you are giving,” King points out. “There has to be fruit. Meaning there has to be tangible results of the progress that church or organization is making in advancing the kingdom of God and taking care of all His children.”
If you are making a large donation you may want to use a consultant to check out the organization. “A donor can always request to see a nonprofit’s financials, IRS 990 (tax form for all nonprofits except churches, who are not required to file), and/or annual report. These are all public record and should be voluntarily shared by reputable charities. For even more information, a donor can visit Guidestar.com, which provides the IRS tax forms (990s) for all charitable organizations required to file them,” says Chapman.
Also examine how much good your donation will do. You may decide to set aside money annually to give to one or two charities to make a greater impact. “It is very difficult to make any kind of social change by dribbling out a small donation here and another small donation there. The best approach is to identify no more than three to five (depending on how much you can give) organizations and concentrate your donations there,” says Chapman.
So go ahead and give, but be financially smart about how you do.
For the second year in a row, Heat Free Hair has partnered with the TigerLily Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A portion of the proceeds from all Heat Free Hair sales during the month of October will benefit TigerLily and its good works. There will also be a custom wig giveaway for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
This sort of support and philanthropy is exactly what this month — and all of the other health awareness months — are about. And while we all want to participate in some way, we want to do it in a way that is generous without intruding upon the normal course of business.
“I have always been a huge advocate of supporting smaller organizations because I believe your donations will go directly to someone in need without having to worry about some of the overhead costs that a lot of larger organizations have. Last year, I researched breast cancer organizations that were doing amazing things and having a great impact and found Tigerlily,” Ngozi Opara, founder of Heat Free Hair, told us in an email.
Finding an organization that you believe does the most good is the first step in a charitable act that makes you feel like you’re making a difference. Then you get into the logistics.
“What I loved the most about the Tigerlily Foundation is that they don’t just raise awareness, they also support the women and their families during and after treatment. They do things like get them groceries and do a lot of the tasks that may be taxing on a patient during treatment and then they continue support after treatment,” Opara continued. “After I researched them I found out that one of my employees at the time was actually cousins with the founder and that made it very easy to connect and after speaking with the founder Maimah Karmo, I knew I had made the right decision to support their efforts.”
For Opara, last year’s commitment was made as the company was still in its first year of business. So “luckily,” she says, they were able to keep their word.
“For other small businesses who want to enter into a philanthropic partnership, a great way to protect yourself financially in the event that sales are slow that month is to commit to donating a flat number or wait until all sales are calculated at the end of the month and then announce your contribution or donation amount,” Opara advises.
If you have a charitable program that you’d like to call out, please feel free to do so in the comments.
The 2013 tax season is here, and with many close friends, family members and acquaintances offering their personal services and advice, they might overlook a few of the tax deductions you could possibly qualify for.
Filing your taxes may seem simple enough, but make sure you are getting all you deserve from the year and take note of these commonly overlooked tax deductions before filing and completing your taxes for the season.