It's the season of giving and plenty of people are using the holidays as a time to give to their favorite charity.
But are your donations tax deductible?
The IRS offers some advice for tax payers.
First, know that the organization you are donating to is qualified.
"When you get calls on the phone, ask them to mail or email you something about their organization," said Walter Hill, the Executive Director of the Wiregrass United Way. "If they are not willing to do that, it is not a good sign. More than likely they will send it to you immediately because they think you are interested in contributing to them. The same goes for any local organization. Just because they are doing good service does not mean it is tax deductible."
The second tip offered by the IRS is to keep a paper trail by always paying with a check, and ask for proof of your contribution on the organization's letter head.
"You need to have a receipt from the organization that you are giving to, or there needs to be a canceled check or credit card record. You need something to prove that in case you are audited," said Dan Boone, who works with the IRS.
Boone also advises philanthropists to know what you can and cannot deduct.
"Gifts to individuals, people that are in need, and family and strangers are not deductible on your tax return," he said.
"If you go buy something at an auction from a charity and you actually get something in return the only part that is deductible is the part that is above fair market value," said Hill.
Lastly, you can only count donations that have been given in the last year, but if you donate with a credit card in 2012 and pay it off in 2013, it will still count.
For more information, go to www.irs.gov.