Charitable deduction extended

* Taxpayers now can deduct donations made to tsunami relief efforts in January 2005 from their 2004 taxes, a new law that backers hope will increase contributions, while others fear the increased giving will result in diminished donations to other charities, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Jan. 9. The IRS has alerted taxpayers who itemize deductions of the change, Tax Analysts reported Jan. 10.

* The flood of donations for tsunami relief may hurt giving to other charities in the short term as donors redirect funds, experts say, but the disaster may introduce new donors to charity giving, benefiting all nonprofits over time, a development seen in the wake of Sept. 11, the New York Times reported Jan. 7.

* U.S. charities have collected more than $324 million for tsunami relief, approaching the U.S. government’s pledge of $350 million, with grantmakers contributing more than $90 million, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Jan. 7, but support has yet to match the $550 million raised in the two weeks following Sept. 11.

* Six in 10 British workers do not have the option of making charitable donations through their salaries, a survey by consultancy KPMG says, an area in which businesses could better support charities, Accountancy Age reported Jan. 11.

* Citing risk aversion and too much attention to operational activities, one in five staffers at British nonprofits says innovation is important to their organizations, while six in 10 nonprofit heads agree, says a new study by nfpSynergy, the Charity Times reported Jan. 6.

* Publicized celebrity giving to tsunami relief, including $1 million donated by actress Sandra Bullock and a $1.5 pledge by director Steven Spielberg’, can spur giving among ordinary people accustomed to responding to the requests and advice of pop-culture stars, the New York Times said Jan. 11.

* In response to requests by donors, China Charity Federation now can receive online donations using bank cards from three major banks that have waived transfer fees, with donations from the Chinese mainland for tsunami relief exceedeing $18 million, Xinhuanet reported Jan. 11.

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