There’s been an extraordinary surge of fakers this year. The explosion of AI along with more sophisticated scams can make it feel like you have to look under every rock. 

While Biden is enacting a presidential order to demand some accountability from the big AI-producing agencies, and Congress continues to work on formulating legislation to follow it, we have to proceed with some awareness and caution.

That’s one of the things I want to keep you in the loop on and help prepare you for.

As we round into November and all the opportunities to make some tax-savvy moves before year’s end, we have to consider the top strategies surrounding charitable giving. With generosity comes vulnerability to charity scammers. It’s unfortunate, but just true. 

How do I protect myself might be at the forefront of your mind. So, let me give you some insight on that today.

How Louisville Givers Can Guard Against Fake Charities
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

It’s almost that time for Charlie Brown specials and holiday parties. It’s the season for festivities, and with that also comes more of an inclination toward generosity. For some reason, it just comes to mind way more this time of year. 

The truth is, though, there have been a lot more opportunities for generosity this year in the wake of tragic crises and natural disasters happening all over the country. 

There are lots of people and places that need help. So, it only feels right to give.

But, beyond the noble reasons for giving, there’s also a practical side: It can be a strategic move for year-end tax planning. While giving isn’t necessarily about tax benefits, if the IRS is giving kickback for you when you do, it’s good to know how to take advantage of it.

Most important thing to know if you do? Charitable contributions, if you want them to be considered, have to be itemized. I’ve written about this before, and it’s worth reviewing. There are nuances to claiming deductions for giving to charity. If you want guidance on this, the Roberts CPA Group team is here for you: 502-426-0000.

Now, before you opt-in for a charitable giving opportunity, it’s important to make sure your hard-earned money is going to genuine causes, not lining the pockets of opportunistic scammers. 

The desire to help can sometimes overshadow the necessary precautionary measures. Shockingly, the number of counterfeit charities is on the rise. Hundreds of fake charities emerge annually, and thousands of well-intentioned individuals fall prey to these schemes. The IRS has reported a notable uptick in fraudulent activities centered around charitable giving, especially in the wake of significant global events. And the FBI backs that up.

So, before you give, here’s how you can protect yourself against fake charities.

Verify before you give: Websites like Charity Navigator or GuideStar can be invaluable in verifying the authenticity of a charity. Even the IRS has a search tool for Tax Exempt Organizations in their systems.

Avoid impulse decisions: Scammers play on emotions, especially after high-profile disasters. And there are social media influencers and videos with heartbreaking stories that tug hard on you to act quickly. So, before you just jump on a celebrity’s giving link, take a moment to research the legitimacy of that avenue.

Beware of pressure tactics: Authentic charities won’t pressure you to give. They will give a sense of urgency, but they should not make you feel like you can’t think your decision through before giving.

Secure payment methods: Never donate via wire transfers or gift cards. Reputable charities provide secure methods for donations.

Give locally: It’s much easier to give when you can see with your own eyes where your money is going. Look for opportunities in your area where you can give and see the immediate impact of your giving. 

Consult your tax professional: It’s just a good practice to consult with a qualified Louisville tax professional before making significant charitable donations. Not only can we advise you on the legitimacy of the charity, but we can also guide you on the most tax-efficient way to give. 

As the year draws to an end, it’s an ideal time to discuss your financial picture and potential tax-saving strategies. Charitable giving, when done right, can be a key component of this. 

As you strive to make a difference in the world and with Jefferson county people in need, remember we’re not just here for the numbers. We genuinely care about your financial well-being.

Give safely this year

Kevin Roberts