Be wary of giving tax advice when accepting donations

As the April 15th tax deadline approaches, many people are sitting down to work on and file their taxes.  Unfortunately, some of them will discover that the charitable contributions they made last year are not as deductible as they had anticipated, and they will likely not be too happy about it.

While it is a general belief that the items and money given to nonprofits will be tax-deductible on the donor’s income taxes, the specifics of people’s lives cause them to interact differently with tax laws.  It is entirely possible that two of your donors could write you a check for the same amount and end up with completely different tax deductions, if any.

Because misunderstandings or inaccurate statements by a nonprofit’s employees or printed materials could anger past donors and keep them from giving in the future, it is important to make sure not to make any assurances regarding the tax benefits of donating to your organization.  Stick to factual statements, not opinions, and never put yourself in a situation that could make donors believe that you are providing the kind of advice that should really come from a lawyer, accountant, or other tax professional.

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Please note:  This blog is intended as general educational information only, and should not be considered legal advice or a substitute for consulting a lawyer.