Do you know who you’re giving to?

Many charities use your donations wisely. Unfortunately, others spend too much of your contribution on fundraising and administrative expenses. Some even misrepresent themselves and solicit your money for phony causes. In today’s world, investigating a charity before you make a donation is wise. Here’s a checklist of precautions.

  • Request written documentation about the charity’s mission and how your contribution will be spent. Ask for proof that your donation is tax deductible. If a charity is reluctant to provide information, think twice about making a gift.
  • When you receive a phone solicitation, the caller must provide his or her name, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made, and a telephone number or address at which that person or entity can be contacted. If a caller refuses to give you this information, hang up. Report the call to local authorities to help protect others.
  • Be wary about giving your credit card number over the phone. Instead, consider mailing your contribution once you’ve verified that the charity is legitimate and that it represents a cause you’d like to support.
  • Just because an organization gives you a receipt for your records doesn’t mean the organization is tax-exempt or that your contribution is tax-deductible. To find out if an organization is exempt from federal income tax and how much of your contributions to it are tax deductible, visit the IRS website at https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos.

Asking the right questions and obtaining information from and about a charity is the only way you can be sure your contribution will be used to benefit the causes and people you want to support. If we can help you sort the legitimate from the fake, give us a call.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today’s small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it.

Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission.

Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations.

She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.

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