Thursday, December 3, 2015
YEAR-END AND HOLIDAY CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS
As you are planning year-end and holiday charitable contributions, here is a timely reminder taken from my “Charitable Contributions Guide”, available for only $1.00 at my “Dollar Store”.
The last paragraph is highlighted because it is very important.
“You can only deduct cash contributions if you can provide a record of the contribution in the form of -
• a cancelled check,
• a bank record (i.e. a copy of the front of the check included on your monthly bank statement),
• an entry on a bank or credit card statement indicating a credit or debit card charge, or
• a written communication from the church or charity showing the name of the organization, the date and amount of the contribution.
If you give to the United Way or other charity via payroll deduction a pay stub, Form W-2, or other employer furnished document that sets forth the amount withheld for payment to the charity, along with a pledge card prepared by or at the direction of the charity, will satisfy the “written communication” requirement.
The law does not say that all contributions of more than $50.00 or more than $100.00 must be documented. It says that ALL cash contributions must be documented. So if you give the DAV a dollar for a poppy, and you want to deduct it, you must get a receipt!
You can no longer say you put a five or ten dollar bill in the collection plate each week. You must actually write a check to the church for the $5.00 or $10.00 each week, or take advantage of the church's 'envelope' system, which will provide you with a written record.
If the total amount donated to a church or charity is more than $250.00 you must have a 'contemporaneous' written acknowledgement from the organization with its name and address, the date of the contribution, and the amount donated. It must also indicate whether you were provided any goods or services by the charity in exchange for the donation.
To be able to claim a deduction for the full amount of your contribution the acknowledgement must state “No goods or services were provided in exchange for the donation”. And the acknowledgement must be received from the donee organization before the earlier of the date the original tax return is filed or the extended due date of the tax return.”