Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What Documentation Do I Need for a Charitable Contribution Deduction?

Cathy Robinson, CPA
Senior Manager

You have made your charitable contributions during the year, now it is time to gather them for your tax return preparation.  What documents do you need to retain?

The IRS requires the donor maintain either a bank record or a receipt from the donee with the donee’s name, contribution date and amount for a cash donation.
For a payroll donation, the donor should retain the pay stub or documentation for the amount withheld with payment to the charitable organization. 

For a noncash donation of less than $250, the donor should maintain a receipt from the donee with the name, date, and a description of the items donated.  The donee will not provide a value of the donated property.

For contributions of $250 or more, the donor should maintain the written acknowledgment from the donee.  The following items should be included in the acknowledgment:  amount of cash or property description and a value of the goods or services exchanged for the contribution.

For noncash contributions of more than $500, the donor must list on their tax return a written description of the donated property and any other information required by the IRS.  If the donation is a vehicle, there are additional reporting requirements.  If there is a noncash donation of $5,000 or more, a qualified appraisal must be attached to the return.

When in doubt of what is required, contact your tax preparer with any questions.