The 2010 tax season is almost over, and many people are looking for an avenue of giving to claim on their taxes. The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) makes giving easier by publishing a Charity Rating Guide that grades charitable organizations. The higher the letter grade, the better the chance that donated monies are spent appropriately. While the AIP does not make the whole report available for free online, they do provide a list of organizations that are top-rated, and include the actual letter grade for these. For more information on AIP, what they do, who they report on, and other basic information, check out the FAQ on the organization’s website.
The full report for all charities rated by AIP is also in print format, and is titled Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report. This report is published three times a year, and is available for in-house use at the Ellis Library & Reference Center, as well as the Bedford Branch Library. The Ellis R & I Center is closed for renovation, but the report can be retrieved and sent to the Frenchtown-Dixie Branch Library for in-house viewing. If interested in viewing this report, please contact reference staff using the Ask A Librarian form.
The Internal Revenue Service also publishes a listing of charitable organizations for which donations can be used as deductions on federal income tax returns. Called Publication 78, it is available in searchable format online in the Charities & Non-Profits section of the IRS website. Searches can be run for organizational names, or even for locations. A search for Monroe as the city and MI as the state returns a list of more than 100 local charities.
Money is not the only thing that can be used as a charitable deduction on federal income tax returns; individuals can also donate non-monetary items such as clothing, furniture, or other miscellanea to organizations that accept these items. However, individuals are required by the IRS to value the items donated. Goodwill Industries International and the Salvation Army provide online valuation guides that will assist donors in valuing these donations. Both guides are available online by clicking on the link for each organization.