Last day to claim special tax relief for donations to Haiti

If you want to take advantage of the opportunity to claim Haiti relief donations on your 2009 return, time is running out to make a donation. Qualifying contributions must be made after January 22, 2010, and before March 1, 2010 -- that makes today your last chance. You have until midnight to make a contribution. That means you have to text or charge your payment by the end of the day; additionally, checks need to be in the mail (with sufficient funds in your account to clear).

The rush is on because of special, temporary tax provision. On January 22, 2010, Congress passed a new law to benefit those who donate to Haiti relief efforts. The provision allows taxpayers who itemize deductions to deduct charitable donations to qualified Haiti relief organizations on their 2009 tax returns. The donations must be in cash or cash equivalent. This means cash, check, credit card or debit card contributions -- as well as text message donations. In-kind donations, such as donations of water or medical supplies, won't count for purposes of the accelerated deduction; those deductions will have to be claimed as they normally would, on a taxpayer's 2010 return.