Tax Tips For Holiday Giving

This time of year, many people are in the giving spirit.

Whether you've decided to go with items or cash, there are some things to know when making those charitable donations. Especially if you expect to deduct them from your federal taxes.

You can see the generosity of Texomans everywhere.

From the star on top of the Hospice tree, to the boxes filled with coats and blankets in our Newschannel 6 lobby.

But, if you're counting on those contributions to be taken off your taxes, make sure you are familiar with how the process works.

First of all, donations are deducted the same year they're made.

So, as long as you make it by Friday, you can take it off your 2010 taxes.

"You want to make sure the organization you donate to is federally exempt," IRS Spokesman Clay Sanford said.

Make sure you know the difference between a non-profit and tax exempt organization.

Most organizations other than churches have to apply to be qualified.

"Then we sent them a letter that proves eligibility to receive tax deductible donations and the organizations are required to show copies of this letter to anybody who wants to see it," Sanford said.

You need to file form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.

Be sure to keep good records of your donations.

If giving cash, canceled checks or bank statements with the charity, date and amount will work.

The same goes for credit cards.

"Even if a charge is made by the end of the year but you don't pay the bill until next year, it still qualifies for 2010 donation as long as charged by the end of the day on the 31st," Sanford said.

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6