Charitable Contribution Documentation Requirements

Beginning in 2007, you cannot deduct a cash charitable contribution, regardless of the amount, unless you keep a bank record (such as a cancelled check, a bank copy of a cancelled check, or a bank statement containing the name of the charity, the date and the amount) or a written communication from the qualified charity which shows the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution.


Cash contributions of $250 or more must be documented by a written statement from the charity in addition to the aforementioned bank record.  The statement from the charity must include a description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services received from the charity, unless the contribution was made by payroll deduction.  For contributions made by a payroll deduction, in lieu of an acknowledgement from the qualified charity you must have a pay stub that proves the amount withheld and a pledge card or other document from the qualified charity that states that the organization does not provide goods or services in return for any contribution made to it by a payroll deduction.


If you render out of pocket services to a qualified charity and have unreimbursed out of pocket expenses related to those services you must have adequate records to prove the amount of expenses and an acknowledgement from the qualified charity that contains a description of the services you provided, a statement of whether or not the charity provided any goods or services to reimburse you for the expenses incurred, a description in good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services provided to you by the charity, and a statement of any intangible religious benefits provided.

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