December is traditionally a month for giving generously to charities. Doing the right research is important prior to making any donation. Karen Connelly, spokesperson for the Internal Revenue Service in Denver, says they like to get information out this time of year, that will help tax payers to make sure their donations get to qualified charities.

"And what that means is they need to find out if they have been accepted by the IRS as an exempt organization. They can do that on our website IRS.gov by using the Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool." Connelly says those donations will count toward your return providing it's made by December 31st. That includes credit card payments, even if they're not paid until 2013

Connelly says be sure and keep a record of all donations, especially those made in cash. "You can also keep a canceled check, a bank or credit card statement or a payroll deduction record. And also, if your giving goods, like donating a car, a boat, a household item, those types of things, you're gonna want to keep a written receipt from the organization you give to."

Be sure to store them in a safe place so you can easily access them later when you file your tax return.

For more information about contributions, check out Publication 526, Charitable Contributions. The booklet is available on IRS.gov or order by mail at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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