Before Donating, Check the IRS List of Approved Charities

The IRS recently addressed the extent to which donors may rely on the listing of a charity in Publication 78, Cumulative List of Organizations, which is a list of organizations that are eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.

Generally, Publication 78 lists organizations that have received a ruling or determination letter from the IRS stating that contributions to the organization are deductible. Each ruling or determination letter is based on a factual showing by the listed organization that its character, purposes, activities and method of operation satisfy the statutory requirements for qualification at the time the ruling or determination letter is issued. If there is a material change in the character, purposes, activities, or method of operation of an organization from those on which the ruling or determination letter was based and the change is such that the organization ceases, as a matter of law, to qualify under Section 170(c), the ruling or determination letter also immediately ceases to be applicable.

The IRS no longer publishes a paper version of Publication 78. Grantors and contributors can no longer rely on the paper version of Publication 78 or any paper supplements from now on. Publication 78 now appears solely in electronic format on the IRS website at Electronic Publication 78 and its electronic addenda are generally updated at least quarterly.

Check out Publication 78 for IRS approved public charities, as well as private foundations.