In a previous blog post, we provided guidance on checking charity legitimacy before donating to help hurricane and other natural disaster victims. We discussed the official IRS website tool, Select Check, to determine if the charity is registered, which was useful but not always user-friendly.

Fortunately, the IRS has realized that and has updated the tool, changed its name, and made it easier to use. The new website is the Tax Exempt Organization Search. The site allows you to search by the name of the charity or the charity’s Employer Identification Number (EIN), as well as by city, state, or country, all in a simpler format. When you find your charity, you can determine if it can accept deductible donations.

Even after you determine your charity can accept your donations, it’s always a good idea to make sure your chosen charity continues to handle your donations properly and uses a large portion of your gift to actually help those you set out to help. Try Charity Navigator or Charity Watch to find out detailed information about a charity. And beware of fundraising campaigns for charities that you may have never heard of, or that you may have come across through another Internet site.

There are many worthwhile charities that need your donations, and you can help people or causes you want to help. Just be sure to do your research before you give. The new Tax Exempt Organization Search website makes it even easier to choose the right charity.

By Cliff Acheson, CPA