Charity Navigator even has a Donor Advisories list that informs donors if their charity is under investigation, has a lawsuit pending or if there are any irregularities with the IRS form 990 — a tax-exempt form that must be annually filed.
It's important for donors to understand the personal tax implications of giving, Glassman said, as there's a lot of confusion. Especially for those on a tight budget who are only giving away small sums, the deduction they are entitled to for a charitable donation may never positively be reflected in their taxes, because they don't have enough deductions overall to opt out of the standard deduction.
"With some people, they believe they are able to deduct, but they don't itemize their deductions, so technically they're not deductible," Glassman said.
— By Angela Johnson, special to CNBC.com
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