Washington  (Dec. 2, 2003) - Taxpayers need to keep in mind some simple steps to make sure they benefit from their donations to tax-exempt charitable and religious groups, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The tax benefit for charitable contributions is only available for taxpayers who itemize deductions — about one-third of all filers. Those who take a standard deduction receive no additional tax benefit for their contributions.  In 2000, the last year for which complete data is available, about 37.5 million taxpayers made deductible charitable contributions totaling nearly $140.7 billion. Of these gifts, nearly $98.2 billion were cash donations.

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