Driving in to the office today I was able to see clouds dumping snow on the local mountains. It was a good reminder that nature sometimes has an effect on our lives, and I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the tax incentive signed into law this week to help the Haitian earthquake victims. Here’s the straight scoop: If you donate money after January 11, 2010 and before March 1, 2010 to a qualified US charity and it is earmarked to aid Haitian earthquake victims you have the choice to take the deduction on your 2009 or your 2010 tax return. Pretty simple, but there are a few things to point out. 1) It must be a US based charity. If you aren’t sure, look up the organization on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search 2) The donation must be made in money. Checks, credit card charges, and designated text message fees on your phone bill will all count. Donations of blankets, tents and food will not. 3) You cannot deduct the donation in both 2009 and 2010! 4) Those who do not itemize deductions will not get to deduct these donations. At this point in time California does not conform to this legislation, meaning you will still be able to deduct these donations but will only do so in 2010 unless the legislature enacts a conforming bill. It is expected they will do so, but we will have to wait and see.