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Today’s donations still deductible

Today is the last day for U.S. citizens to make charitable contributions that would allow for itemized deductions on one’s income tax returns.

Greg White, a certified public accountant, said it is important to note that charitable donations must be made before Friday, in order to qualify as a deduction in April.

“You’ll need some documentation of your gift,” White said. “Usually, a cancelled check is adequate for smaller donations of $250 or less. If it’s a larger contribution, it’s preferable to have written acknowledgement from the receiving organization or charity. You’ll just need to ask them to provide you that written documentation.”

The IRS offers these tips to help taxpayers plan their donations at the end of the year:

• Contributions are deductible in the year made. Therefore, donations charged to a credit card before the end of the year will count toward 2010. This is true, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2011. Also, checks count for 2010 as long as they are mailed during this year.

• Be sure the organization is qualified. Only donations to qualified organizations are tax-deductible. IRS Publication 78, available online and at many public libraries, lists most organizations that are qualified to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible donations.

White also said taxpayers can make their January 2011 mortgage payment by Friday as well, which will enable homeowners to get credit for that payment’s interest as a deduction. This is allowed because mortgage payments represent interest for the previous month.

Local charities include:

• Covington County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 1034 Andalusia, AL 36420;

• Covington County Chapter of the American Red Cross, 234 Hillcrest Drive, Andalusia, AL 36420;

• Salvation Army’s Red Kettle drive, c/o James and James Attorneys, P.O. Box 1061, Andalusia, AL 36420;

• Imagination Library. Call Curtis Simpson at 427-9907 or 488-4303.

• Covington County United Fund, P.O. Box 1791, Andalusia, AL, 36421.

• Meredith’s Miracles, P.O. Box 643, Andalusia, AL 36420

• Crossover Ministries, the eight-month addiction recovery program in Opp serving all of Covington County. Contributions can be mailed to 508 Highway 52 East Opp, Alabama 36467.

• LBWCC Foundation, P O Box 1311, Andalusia, AL 36420 and MSTC Foundation, P.O. Drawer 1418, Andalusia, AL 36420.

• The Lower Alabama Arts Council 513-A East Three Notch Street, Andalusia, Alabama 36420

• Andalusia Ballet Association, P.O. Box 1736, Andalusia, AL 36420.