Haiti relief donations now tax-deductible for 2009

Cash donations to Haiti relief efforts are now officially deductible on 2009 tax filings.

President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill passed by Congress to encourage Americans to continue giving to the beleaguered nation following a devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.

For an exemption, only monetary donations made specifically for Haiti relief made between Jan. 11 and March 1 qualify.

Contributions made by text message, check, credit card or debit card are acceptable. To claim the benefit, taxpayers must itemize their deductions on Schedule A.

Keep a record of any deductible donations you make. For texted donations, a telephone bill meets the requirement if it shows the name of the organization that benefited, as well as the date and amount of the donation.

For other contributions, keep a bank record, such as a canceled check, or a receipt from the charity showing its name and the date and amount of the contribution.

Remember that donations to foreign organizations generally are not deductible.

If you wish, you can deduct the contributions in 2010, but only if you didn't deduct them on you 2009 tax returns.

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