A donation without documentation might not be a deduction
Because of several recent court cases involving charitable donations being disallowed for lack of proper documentation, we want to remind you of the vital importance of obtaining and saving receipts and paperwork for charitable contributions. The shocker is that in some of the cases the court agreed the money had been donated – it just didn’t like the accompanying documentation.
The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance blog shared the story of a California couple who donated land worth $18.5 million. Because the correct property appraisal paperwork was not submitted along with their tax return (which they prepared themselves), the judge in the case had no choice but to deny the entire charitable deduction.
You may not be giving away millions, but even “ordinary” people are experiencing the full weight of the IRS rules. Example: A couple’s $250 cash donation to a church was denied because the “thank you” letters from the church were faulty. One letter failed to mention whether the taxpayer received goods or services for their donation (a mandatory clause for such correspondence) and a second letter, that was written long after the fact, was disregarded for failing to be contemporaneous.
To properly take advantage of your charitable donations, make sure you save receipts at the time of the donation, or any letters received shortly thereafter. Please consult with us to make sure your receipts comply with the laws and regulations. Especially if you are considering a large donation, plan ahead to verify what forms must be obtained and what paperwork must be submitted with your tax return. Let us help keep your good intentions on the right track.