Many people are very perturbed by the recent devastation in Japan. IRS reminds these people about the importance of donating only to the “qualified” charities in order to take the deduction on their 2011 tax returns. Here is the excerpt from IRS bulletin:
“Many people may wish to contribute to relief funds for the victims of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami.
The IRS reminds taxpayers there are some simple steps they can take to ensure that their contributions go to qualified charities. Taxpayers who have a specific charity in mind can make sure that it is a qualified charity by doing a search on IRS.gov. Some organizations, such as churches or governments, may be qualified even though they are not listed on IRS.gov.
The IRS reminds donors that contributions to foreign organizations generally are not deductible.
To get a tax benefit for making a charitable contribution, taxpayers must itemize their deductions on Schedule A for the year in which they made the contribution.”
IRS Issues Information on 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative in Eight Foreign Languages.
The IRS recently announced (IR 2011-25) that it has made available information in eight foreign languages about the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI) for those taxpayers with undisclosed offshore accounts. The agency took this step to reach taxpayers whose primary language may not be English.
The IRS is offering people with undisclosed income from offshore accounts an opportunity to participate in a new, voluntary disclosure initiative to get current on their tax returns. The 2011 OVDI will be available only through Aug. 31, 2011.
The news release, announcing the agency’s terms for its offshore voluntary disclosure initiative was translated into Chinese ( Traditional and Simplified), Farsi, German, Hindi, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The agency has taken this step to get information about the initiative to people that need it in response to requests made by taxpayers and tax professionals. A similar effort took place in 2009, when the IRS translated material on its special provisions for undisclosed offshore accounts into several languages.
The 2011 initiative has a higher penalty rate than the previous voluntary disclosure program, which ended on Oct. 15, 2009, but offers clear benefits to encourage taxpayers to disclose foreign accounts now rather than risk IRS detection and possible criminal prosecution.
Taxpayers participating in the new initiative must file all original and amended tax returns and include payment for taxes, interest and accuracy-related penalties by the Aug. 31 deadline.
The IRS recently launched a new section on www.IRS.gov that includes the full terms and conditions on the 2011 Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative, including an extensive set of questions and answers to help taxpayers and tax professionals. The web site also includes details on how people can make a voluntary disclosure.
Complete information about this initiative including all of the translations can be found by typing the term ‘voluntary disclosure’ on IRS.gov.