A charity that helps veterans is the best choice for your district, says a new report by The National Board for Public Hospitals, which advocates for veterans and their families.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all,” said John F. Brownell, who was named to the board in 2010 after serving as a hospital administrator in the mid-1990s.
“The best thing is to go to the one place where you feel you’re going to be supported and that’s your local veterans organization.”
Brownell says he doesn’t think many organizations have made this statement, which was first made by the U.S. Veterans of Foreign Wars, in a memo to the National Board.
The memo came out in December and is titled, “Do veterans organizations have the right to be charities?”
It also outlines the differences between charities and veterans organizations.
The National Boards report says there are five basic ways that charities can be charitable.
First, a charity must provide a certain amount of “non-material” support for a veteran’s disability or condition.
That means it must provide “an item or service to be donated” and the “value” to be raised.
If a charity is unable to provide “a service” to a veteran, the charity is considered not a charity and is not eligible to receive charitable funds.
Second, the charities must provide an annual or semi-annual report.
The report must include information on “financial statements, records, and other information that may be relevant to the eligibility of a charitable organization for the distribution of charitable funds,” such as its annual or quarterly profit or loss, or the percentage of donations it has received.
Third, the organizations must disclose their “core purpose” to the charity, which must include the “purpose of the organization to aid and support veterans.”
A charity may provide “services” to veterans, such as providing “food, clothing, housing, transportation, or other necessities” to veteran’s families.
However, if a charity “provides a service to a veterans’ family that is directly related to a specific disability or related to the needs of the veterans’ families, the purpose of the service must be determined as a part of the certification of that service,” Brownell said.
“In the case of a non-material service, a veterans organization must provide the veterans with an item or item of non-monetary support to assist with that disability or to assist the veterans in a rehabilitation or treatment program,” Brownll added.
If the charity “does not provide an item of support, the veteran may receive a letter explaining the circumstances under which the organization cannot provide the service and the criteria for which the veteran is not entitled to receive the item of assistance.”
Fourth, the nonprofit must be a nonprofit.
“Non-profits must be registered with the U of M Department of Public Health to be eligible for charitable support, including providing food, clothing or shelter,” Brownedell said in a statement.
The charity is then eligible for a charitable deduction.
If your organization qualifies, the money donated will be returned to the veterans.
Fifth, a nonprofit is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is exempt from federal income tax and tax reporting requirements.
The organization must be located in your county, and the nonprofit is required to register with the IRS.
“It is the charitable giving of a veteran that is most important to a charity,” Brown said.
In a statement, Brownell stressed that the National Boards memo is not an official rule, but is intended to help veterans and other interested charities understand what the board considers to be the best charities for their district.
“As veterans, we know that our tax-deductible benefits are critical to our lives, and we appreciate the efforts of our elected leaders to ensure that our contributions are tax-efficient,” he said.
The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs is also reviewing the National Hospitals Association’s proposal, Brown said, and he urged all charities to submit their proposals to the agency.
Brown is hopeful that the VA will approve all of the proposed changes.
He added that he expects the VA to issue a final rule in the near future, though he wouldn’t know until then if the VA would actually change its position on the issue.
“I would like to see the VA take this issue seriously and implement all of these proposed changes to the current regulations to make sure that veterans can still give,” Brown added.