6 IRS Facts About Gifts to Charity and Acknowledgements

Throughout the year, many taxpayers contribute money or gifts to qualified organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. However, the rules related to charitable donations may be somewhat confusing for your clients. Here’s a primer from the IRS with suggestions on recordkeeping and acknowledgements for you to review and to pass along to your clients.

Taxpayers who plan to claim a charitable deduction on their tax return must do the following:

  • Have a bank record or written communication from a charity for any monetary contributions.
  • Get a written acknowledgment from the charity for any single donation of $250 or more.

Here are six facts for taxpayers to remember about these donations and written acknowledgements:

#1: Taxpayers who make single donations of $250 or more to a charity must have one of the following:

  • A separate acknowledgment from the organization for each donation of $250 or more.
  • One acknowledgment from the organization listing the amount and date of each contribution of $250 or more.

#2: The $250 threshold doesn’t mean a taxpayer adds up separate contributions of less than $250 throughout the year.

  • For example, if someone gave a $25 offering to their church each week, they don’t need an acknowledgement from the church, even though their contributions for the year are more than $250.

#3: Contributions made by payroll deduction are treated as separate contributions for each pay period.

#4: If a taxpayer makes a payment that is partly for goods and services, their deductible contribution is the amount of the payment that is more than the value of those goods and services.

#5: A taxpayer must get the acknowledgement on, or before, the earlier of these two dates:

  • The date they file their return for the year in which they make the contribution.
  • The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.

#6: If the acknowledgment doesn’t show the date of the contribution, the taxpayers must also have a bank record or receipt that does show the date.

Here are some resources for more information:

Source: 6 IRS Facts About Gifts to Charity and Acknowledgements, Tax Pro Center