Knowing which charity to donate to can be difficult. When you are trying to determine where to donate, you are usually interested in making a tax-deductible donation. But how do you know if the charity you are donating is a 501(c)(3)?
You can start by checking the IRS’s website, IRS.gov. The IRS’s website provides a charity search. But don’t expect the search to be easy. The interface is old and dated and not all the charities are listed. For example, the IRS says right on their website, “Certain eligible donees may not be listed in this database.”
But the IRS does provide information about the amounts of money you can deduct. Contributions are generally deductible, up to 50 %, of your adjusted gross income. However, there are exceptions. Some contributions may only qualify for a 30% deduction. When a charity shows up in the IRS database, the qualifying deduction percentage is listed in the charities code. For example, if a charity has a “PC” code, the deduction amount is 50% while a charity with a “PF” code has a deduction amount of 30%.
But what about the charities not listed on the IRS site? You can use guidestar.org. Guidestar.org provides a searchable database for nonprofits. Unfortunately, there are two versions of guidestar. The free version and the paid version. The paid version provides information about the company’s brick a mortar location. You will also have access to the revenue and expense data for the charity during the current year, as reported by the charity. You will have access to the names of the CEO, Board Chair and Board Members. In the free version, you can view some of the same information. The charities physical address, IRS cause code (NTEE code) and filing requirements are listed. You will have access to the EIN, which you can use to search the IRS database. Otherwise, you will find information about the Principal Officer and some more information about their board.
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