Even though devastating Hurricane Katrina occurred along the Gulf Coast many weeks ago (you may recall AiG’s own relief efforts to the ravaged city of Ocean Springs, a Mississippi town we “adopted”), it has provided a unique window of opportunity for Christians who want to support the Lord’s work. However, this opportunity will last only until the end of this month. Here’s how it works:

Right now, you can help charitable non-profit organizations … including ministries like AiG ... and probably save on your taxes!

What caused this? Well, it’s a blessing amidst tragedy. Let me explain.

A few weeks ago, President Bush signed into law something called the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act (KETRA). It’s meant to encourage people (and businesses) to give to their favorite charities by taking advantage of a special temporary tax break … even when giving cash gifts to charities that are not involved in emergency relief.

You see, the act was passed not only to inspire people to give to relief agencies, but also to assist all non-profit organizations right now. Most ministries have seen a drop in donations since September, because so many generous Americans rallied to the cause of Gulf Coast relief (giving to the Red Cross, for example) to help so many unfortunate individuals.

In other words, many people diverted their regular support to their favorite organizations and ministries and sent it instead to relief agencies—an outpouring of relief assistance that has been wonderful to see (and in which AiG has also participated).

For AiG’s part, October’s donations to the general fund were 31% below what was expected, and in November it was 20% below what was hoped for (other ministries, we understand, have had a generally rough time of it as well in this regard).

So to help all non-profit organizations, KETRA is providing you with a special opportunity—for a limited time—to make a donation and see a possible significant tax break.

Therefore, KETRA is allowing a 100% income tax deduction for cash gifts up to 100% of adjusted gross income (rather than the usual 50%) of the donor’s contribution base for donations made until the end of the year.

It is important to note that according to KETRA, there is

  • absolutely no requirement that the cash gift be given for Katrina-related purposes (except for certain corporate gifts)
  • no limitation on the income tax charitable contribution deduction for cash gifts given through December 31
  • a special provision that provides for a 100% deduction this year for gifts coming from individual retirement accounts (IRAs), Keogh plans, 401(k) plans, and 403(b) plans or other qualified retirement plans (please consult your tax advisor)

Also, corporations and partnerships can give up to 100% of their taxable income until the end of the year (only the gifts of regular “C” corporations must be designated for Katrina victims).

Perhaps as you consider your end-of-year giving, you should take into account that your gift to AiG will not only help us emerge from a sluggish donation season due to Katrina, but may also help you in your own tax situation.

This is one of those few times in history when your gift can go farther than usual. But you have to act before the end of the year.

Please help AiG right now, to maintain—and, we pray, even expand—our creation/gospel outreaches … programs that are changing lives and revitalizing churches, as God blesses. Read about donation options. Or find out more about KETRA.

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