Study before giving to non-profits ahead of tax season

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - If you are looking to donate to a non-profit for a tax deduction, you should do your homework.

Tax experts say scammers could be looking to benefit from your generosity this time of year.

A franchisee with Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, L. J. Bryant, said there are some tips to help people looking to donate to a legitimate organization.

"Look at things like charity navigator online, maybe even the Arkansas Secretary of State's website," he said. "See if the non-profit's a legitimate non-profit and I would advise people to be very careful particularly about calls and emails and any of that kind of thing."

Bryant said it's also a good idea to avoid cash donations because there is no paper trail.

He said donating with a check or debit card provides a record of who received that donation.

Another tip is to donate to a non-profit in your community.

Bryant said people can find reputable non-profit organizations right in their own community.

Executive Director of City Youth Ministries Denise Snider said non-profits greatly benefit from end of the year donations.

However, losing a donation to a scammer can be detrimental to a non-profit.

"It can hurt a non-profit in terms of not getting end of year giving obviously, by our expectations for the services we can offer the children for the upcoming year," she said.

Snider said those looking to donate to a non-profit should pay attention to the title and spelling of a non-profit to be sure it's legitimate.

She also says many non-profits, like City Youth Ministries, have a well-kept website with a donate button.

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