Monday, February 16, 2009

Tax Checkoff Helps PA Charities

Income tax forms are being prepared by individuals and accountants across the state and while it may be the source of headaches for some it is the source of funding for 5 non-profits in the state. As you approach the bottom of the PA-40 form, any tax filer who is due a refund is given the option to send all, or a portion, of that money to one of the charities. Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Spokesperson Elizabeth Brassell says each one was chosen by the state legislature and each will either eventually fall off the form or have to be renewed. For the last three years the 5 choices have been the same; The Wild Resources Conservation Fund, The Military Family Relief Assistance Program. The Governor Casey Memorial Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Trust Fund, The Juvenile Diabetes Cure Research Fund and the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Research Fund. Brassell says the number grows every year but last year 540-thousand dollars were donated through the checkoff program usually 7 and 8 dollars at a time. Total donations to each fund ranged from $166- to $27-thousand. Brassell says Pennsylvania is not unique. In fact, in 2003 there were 220 checkoff programs on the tax forms of 41 states and the District of Columbia. Brassell says people who fill out their own forms usually notice the 5 options but those who go to a preparer often are never told about the opportunity. Supporters of the check off program encourage filers to tell their preparers to send any potential refund to one of the programs when they drop off their materials.

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