I recently attended a "tax compliance" seminar for pastors and church bookkeepers. The presenter said that members' charitable contributions are not tax-deductible unless they are submitted in an offering envelope that meets strict requirements. Of course, he offered to sell "compliant" envelopes to the audience for an exorbitant fee. Could you please confirm my understanding that offering envelopes are not required in order for a contribution to be tax-deductible?
In the past, offering envelopes assisted donors in substantiating cash contributions of less than $250. Offering envelopes no longer can be used for this purpose. The tax code now states that all cash contributions, regardless of amount, must be substantiated with:
- a bank record (such as a canceled check);
- a written communication from the charity showing the charity's name, date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution; or