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Do taxes. Save lives.

A new marketing campaign will help tax preparers and Michigan tax payers check a brand new box on state income tax forms to sign up.

State income tax forms take on new aspect of statewide ‘Check Your Heart’ campaign

Check Your Heart is Gift of Life Michigan’s largest public marketing campaign to grow the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. The effort primarily consists of digital messaging through social media, outdoor advertising, traditional marketing and other outlets, but it expanded this year with a new law called the Check Your Heart Act, which received bipartisan support in the state Legislature and will take effect in 2024.

The law will place the organ and tissue donation question on Michigan income tax forms for the 2023 tax year and beyond. Michigan is the first state to offer the opportunity to register to be a donor this way.

Racha Kardahji, director of marketing and communications for Gift of Life MichiganRacha Kardahji, director of marketing and communications, leads the campaign.

Racha (RUSH-uh) talks here about the law’s importance and what Michiganders can expect to see as the tax year begins.

LifeLINES: Why is it important to add the donor registration question to state tax forms next year?  

Racha Kardahji: The Michigan Organ Donor Registry is growing slowly. We need to help the people on the organ transplant waiting list. To give them hope, we wanted to add another opportunity for people in Michigan to join the Donor Registry.

This is simply another way to say yes to saving and healing lives.

If you already have the red heart on your driver’s license or state ID, by the way, you don’t need to register again. Your registration carries over every year.

LL: How will tax preparers and the public learn about this opportunity?  

RK: We have partners who believe in our mission, and they want to help get the word out. The Michigan Department of Treasury, the Michigan Association of CPAs, which has 17,000 members across the state, and other independent tax preparers have said they will spread the information through their channels and marketing platforms.

For tax filers, we will launch a media plan that will go live in early 2024 that will include everything from social media, ads on websites, news stories and information about where to find the donor registration question on the form. And, just so you know, it will be on the Voluntary Contribution Form (Form 4642)!

This year, organ donation is on the Michigan tax form.LL: How can supporters of donation and the Donor Registry help get the message out about the question on tax forms? 

RK: Tell your tax preparer about it if that’s how you complete your taxes and talk about it with your friends, neighbors and family. Please also share Gift of Life’s social media posts regarding this new way to register and also share facts and stories of those whose lives have been transformed through organ donation. In short, talk about organ donation and its importance! And remind folks of the many ways they can now join the Donor Registry, including in person when they renew their driver’s license at the Secretary of State, online through the Secretary of State website, or on Gift of Life Michigan’s website (golm.org/register). And now they can do so when they file their state taxes. We’re hoping the Donor Registry number will jump during next year’s tax season, adding to the 4.5 million Michiganders who’ve already signed up.

LL: Where will I find it on my tax form?  

RK: If you do your own taxes using Turbo Tax, for example, you will see the question presented when you fill out the online form. If you file your taxes using a paper form, you’ll find the question on the Voluntary Contribution Form (Form 4642).

If you’re working with a CPA or tax preparer, they should present the registration question and fill out the form for you.

And, if you’re already registered, you can skip it. No need to do anything different. Thank you for adding your name to the Donor Registry and lending hope to the more than 2,400 Michiganders waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

To join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, go to golm.org/register.

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