By:  LINDSEY O'NEILL, ESQ.

President Barack Obama has pledged America’s continued support for Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.  Want to know how you can help?  The Justice Department website provides information about how you can make a donation by simply text messaging "HAITI" to "90999."  The $10 donation will be automatically added to your cell phone bill.  See the Justice Department's Donate via Cell Phone.

Help for Haiti: Learn What You Can Do

While you do some good.... your contributions might be tax deductibe.  According to the IRS website, "[c]ontributions to domestic, tax-exempt, charitable organizations that provide assistance to individuals in foreign lands qualify as tax-deductible contributions for federal income tax purposes, provided that the U.S. organization has full control and discretion over the uses of such funds. Contributions to foreign organizations generally are not deductible. Contributions to benefit specific individuals or families are also not deductible."  IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, provides information on making contributions to charities. Pub. 3833, Disaster Relief: Providing Assistance through Charitable Organizations, explains how the public can use charitable organizations to help victims of disasters.

Note:  If you have family members in Haiti, you may be able to find information about them by calling the special number set up by the State Department:  1-888-407-4747 .  However, due to heavy call volume, some callers may receive a recording.

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