There are, as of this writing, 17 days until the end of the taxable year for individuals. In everyday speak, that means that you have 17 days to squeeze in your remaining tax deductions for 2008 (yeah, yeah, you tax folks, there are some IRA exceptions but that’s confusing the issue for the purposes of this post).

One of the easiest ways to get a deduction if you itemize is to make a charitable donation. If you don’t itemize, well, in Congress’ infinite wisdom, it means no deduction – but you can still get the warm fuzzy for doing something good.

With that in mind, today we kick off the first of my 12 Days of Charitable Giving. I’ve asked a panel of judges to review a number of deserving charities as suggested by my readers. I’ll be posting one a day for – well, 12 days (I’m clever that way).

I encourage you to check out the charities voted “most deserving” by my readers and judges. Remember that these are just suggestions and, in most cases, we can’t personally vouch for the good work that these folks do. So be smart. And be generous.

Today’s featured charity was submitted by Bill Mahaney. Bill writes:

The FORGET-ME-NOT ANIMAL SHELTER of Ferry County, Washington is a 501(c)3 non-profit that serves an area larger than Rhode Island. It is typical of many self-funding shelters across the country in that it: (1) was established by local citizens who saw a need and acted on it; (2) is managed and staffed entirely by non-paid volunteers; (3) receives no funding from state, county, or municipal resources.

The Shelter has three main programs. The “Stop the Cycle” voucher program (supported by regional veterinarians) allows area residents to spay/neuter their pets at nominal or no cost. The “Fear No Feral” program is a trap/neuter/release program for feral cats that seem non-adoptable. The “Happy Home Adoption” program goes far beyond Ferry County, with regular deliveries to such places as Seattle and Spokane, WA, and adopters as far away as California, Alaska, Montana, and (for one lucky lizard) Florida.

The Shelter finances itself from donations, adoption fees, an annual huge yard sale, and a small number of corporate grants. Besides running its programs, it has managed to secure a permanent site for the Shelter. However, it urgently needs funds to make the physical shelter fully operational and to meet various building codes. It also needs a reasonable endowment, the income from which to help provide for the continuation of the Shelter.

My wife and I know several of the individuals who established and run the Shelter. We have been modest but major contributors since the Shelter’s inception. And we have, each of the last three years, adopted an adult cat from the shelter. We are now owned by four cats (the oldest was rescued from a shelter in Massachusetts.)

A major problem for THE FORGET-ME-NOT SHELTER is that Ferry County, Washington, is the least affluent county in the state, by any measure (unemployment, per capita income, etc.). To the credit of the Ferry County residents, they support the Shelter overwhelmingly, even with their very limited resources. For example, donations for the annual Shelter yard sale were too many to fit into this year’s sale (we worked on the preparation for the sale and were amazed at the number of donations received).

The FORGET-ME-NOT SHELTER is in Republic, Washington. Physically, it is at 49 W. Curlew Lake Rd. Its mailing address is: PO Box 602, Republic, WA 99166-0602. Its FAX number is: (509) 779-4339. Its phone number is: (509) 775-2308.

Most important, its website is: I urge you to go to that site to get a real understanding of what the FORGET-ME-NOT SHELTER is and does, and to learn how to make donations.

Thank you for your consideration.

A search at (which I highly recommend any time you are considering making a donation) reveals that Forget-Me-Not-Shelter is on the IRS list of charitable organizations.

Thanks to our guest judge, Robert Flach, for choosing Forget Me Not Shelter. Robert Flach has been preparing 1040s for individuals in all walks of life since 1972 and writing the popular tax blog THE WANDERING TAX PRO since 2001. TWTP provides up-to-the-minute advice, information, resources, and, on occasion, commentary on federal and New Jersey state income taxes, and the various New Jersey property tax rebate programs, and insights and observations on professional tax practice.

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Kelly Phillips Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer, and podcaster.


  1. Many thanks to Kelly “taxgirl”, Robert Flach, and our supporter Bill Mahaney for the heartwarming plug this holiday season!

    Like many wonderful charities, we can also be found on – a terrific site for researching, and then donating to, a broad range of charities. You can consolidate all your donations into a single shopping cart, including donations you wish to make in others’ names, or memorial donations.

    We also welcome donations via PayPal, and of course by mail. All donors receive a receipt for the tax deduction, which includes a photo of one of the current adoptable pets they have helped.

    Keep your eye on our website for our newest arrivals – 6 curly mustangs rescued from a less-than-ideal situation, who will be placed for adoption as soon as they have put on some weight and been deemed healthy and ready by the vet.

    Happy holidays, and happy end-of-year deductions, to all the taxgirl fans (including me)!

    Kim Gillen, Volunteer Executive Director
    Forget Me Not Animal Shelter

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