Our thanks to fellow tax preparer and tax attorney Kelly Phillips for mentioning this story on her blog. For those who want to help these families, this can be included on your 2014 return.
“On December 20, 2014, Ismaaiyl Brinkley walked up to a patrol car and shot NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos at close range, killing both. Officer Liu had served seven years on the force and Officer Ramos served just two years. Both were family men: Officer Liu was a newlywed and Officer Ramos was married, the father of two boys.
|Today, the Internal Revenue Service announced that taxpayers who make cash contributions to charities to provide assistance to the families of New York Police Department Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos on or after January 1, 2015 and before midnight on Wednesday, April 15, 2015, may elect to treat those contributions as if they had been made on December 31, 2014. In other words, those taxpayers would receive an immediate tax benefit by choosing to claim a charitable contribution deduction on their 2014 federal income tax returns. Normally, charitable contributions are only deductible in the tax year that the contribution is made. However, as part of the Slain Officer Family Support Act of 2015, enacted April 1, deductions for cash contributions to assist the police officers’ families made on or after January 1, 2015 and on or before April 15, 2015 may be claimed on your 2014 tax return. If you prefer, you can claim the deduction in 2015 (as you would normally). You may not, of course, claim the deduction in both years.The window is strictly drawn: deductions for contributions made before January 1, 2015, (meaning those made in 2014) may only be claimed on a 2014 return. Similarly, deductions for contributions made after April 15, 2015 may only be claimed on a 2015 return.Normal rules for charitable contributions otherwise apply. That means that you should check (and double-check) charitable organizations to make sure that your donation is going to a qualifying charitable organization: try using IRS EO Select Check. Additionally, keep good records. For cash contributions, a bank record such as a canceled check or a receipt from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution should be sufficient. If you donate by text message, a telephone bill should meet the recordkeeping requirement if it shows the name of the charity, the date of the contribution and the amount of the contribution. If you donate more than $250, be sure to get a written acknowledgment from the charity.”|
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