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Gifts to Charities Tax Tips

Many taxpayers contribute money or gifts to qualified organizations in order to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. If you plan to claim these charitable deductions on your tax returns you most:

  • Have a bank record or written communication from the charity for monetary contributions.
  • Get a written acknowledgment from the charity for donations above $250.

Here are six things for taxpayers to remember about these donations and written acknowledgments:

  • Taxpayers who make single donations of $250 or more to a charity must have one of the following: (1) A separate acknowledgment from the organization for each donation of $250 or more; or, (2) One acknowledgment from the organization listing the amount and date of each contribution of $250 or more.
  • 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 acknowledgment from the church, even though their contributions for the year are more than $250.

  • Contributions made by payroll deduction are treated as separate contributions for each pay period.
  • 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.
  • A taxpayer must get the acknowledgment on or before the earlier of these two dates: (1) The date they file their return for the year in which they make the contribution; (2) The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.
  • 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.
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