Thousands of non-profit organizations and private charities toil faithfully and selflessly among the homeless, helpless and hopeless to elevate people out of impoverished conditions. Touching on the generous American impulse, these groups accept billions of dollars in cash donations and gifted items, clothes, cars, building materials, etc., not to mention volunteer hours in order to accomplish their missions. Among the most prominent is the Salvation Army, contributions to which are tax-deductible.
History of the Salvation Army
Although a conspicuous presence in United States' cities, the Salvation Army was born in Great Britain in 1865, the brainchild of a Methodist minister named William Booth. He was convinced that traditional churches were failing in their obligations toward the abused, addicted and alienated masses in London's most notorious districts. Bringing the Christian Gospel directly to prostitutes, pickpockets and the malnourished, Booth and his volunteers ministered to physical and medical needs as well as spiritual concerns.
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His movement took on a military structure, and soon the Salvation Army's blue-coated officers and soldiers popped up in the U.S. and around the world. With nearly two million adherents, the Salvation Army helps men and women in 131 countries, including 30 million Americans.
What Does the Salvation Army Do?
Perhaps the best-known image of the Salvation Army is their "Red Kettle" campaign workers collecting funds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet the Salvation Army is busy all year round with disaster relief efforts, homeless shelter construction and administration, food pantry distributions, job training programs and rescuing people from abusive homes. If that is not enough, the Salvationists are also a church, holding Sunday services and preaching in the streets.
How Do I Give to the Salvation Army?
The Army accepts credit cards, bank transfers and PayPal transactions. The Salvation Army also accepts stocks and other assets. Beyond financial giving, contributors can donate clothing, furniture, automobiles, household appliances and other useful items.
A third way to give is through fundraising, either individually or as a team. A 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, the Salvation Army takes in monetary donations that are tax-deductible.
What Do I Need to Claim a Deduction?
Online donations are answered with an e-mail receipt of the gift. This is the official record of the transaction and should accompany the tax return sent to the Internal Revenue Service if a deduction is entered. Meanwhile, a hard copy check is reflected in the bank statement for the month when the gift was given. Likewise with credit card payouts.
Donated goods are brought to a Salvation Army Thrift Store or picked up by Salvation Army representatives. Either way, it is incumbent upon the donor to get a record of the transfer of ownership. The Salvation Army helps taxpayers estimate the value of their goods with an online valuation guide.
What If I Lost the Receipt?
A lost receipt is not a lost cause. Electronic payment receipts can be retrieved from the website. Furthermore, if the value of a donated item exceeds $250, the Salvation Army may have a record of the conveyance at a thrift store or service center.
Maintaining contact information and logging all donations, including items, values and dates, makes successful recovery more likely. The Salvation Army is very organized.