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How to Make Sure a Charity is Legitimate

December 3, 2013

When donating to a charity, it is vital to know that your donation reaches those who are in need. A legitimate charity can be identified in many ways. First of all, a legitimate charity is registered with the IRS. Asking for the registration number of a charity can help you to differentiate between a fake charity, an illegitimate charity and a legitimate charity. There might be many charities that do not register, but are also not fraudulent. Yet, for tax purposes, giving to a registered charity is a better option.

Almost all registered charities prominently display that they are registered. If you are unsure as to whether or not a charity is registered, you should ask them about their registration.

If you are also looking to save taxes by contributing to a charity, you should only make contributions to registered charities. Exempt Organizations Select Check is the simplest way to check which charities are qualified charities. This tool allows you to select an exempt organization and learn certain information about its federal tax status and filings. The tool also has an extensive search facility. Contributions made to charity will only be tax deductible if they are made to a qualified charity.

A legitimate charity will readily provide you information about its location, phone numbers, person(s) to contact and whether its registration status. Authenticating the claims of a charity by conducting a quick search on the Internet can help you choose a legitimate non-profit organization.

Take your time when choosing a charity to donate to. Donating in a hurry without confirming the authenticity of a charity might defeat your purpose. Scam charities often exploit the eagerness of people to donate at a time of major disaster such as a cyclone or a terrorist attack. Often, scammers pretend to be a legitimate charity or a non-profit organization. When faced with a scammer, information is your best defense.

Donors have certain rights to information from the non-profit organization to which they are donating. You may ask the organization for its recent financial statements, to receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition of your donation, information about the way the organization intends to use donated resources and more. Knowing your rights as a donor will help you in ensuring that your money reaches the people you intend it to reach.

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