6 IRS Facts About Gifts to Charity and Acknowledgments

Tax Law and News Charity guidelines for tax

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 acknowledgments 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 acknowledgments:

#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 acknowledgment 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 acknowledgment 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: