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Charitable Contribution Requirements

01.14.15

I'm writing to remind you of the requirement to substantiate all of your charitable contributions. If the contribution is $250 or more, you'll need a written receipt from the charity. If you donate property valued at more than $500, additional requirements apply.

General rules

You must have a bank record or written communication from the charity before you can claim a charitable contribution. This must include the date and amount of contribution. Any other type of written record, such as a log of contributions, is insufficient.

You are responsible for obtaining a written acknowledgment or receipt from the charity for any single contribution of $250 or more before you can claim a charitable contribution. The written acknowledgment or receipt must include the amount of cash and a description. It must also state whether the charity provided any goods or services in return for the contribution, and if so, must give a good-faith estimate of the value of the goods or services. If you make separate contributions of less than $250, you won't be subject to the written acknowledgment or receipt requirement, even if your contributions to the same charity total $250 or more in a year.

The charity is required to provide a written disclosure to you if you received goods or services in exchange for a single payment in excess of $75. The written disclosure must include the amount of the contribution that is deductible and a good-faith estimate of the value of the goods or services.

For a contribution of property other than money, you generally must maintain a receipt from the charity organization that shows the organization's name, the date and location of the contribution, and a detailed description (not value) of the property. If circumstances make obtaining a receipt impracticable, you must maintain a reliable written record of the contribution. The information required in such a record depends on factors such as the type and value of property contributed.