Donors should be advised in the church bulletin or newsletter, on the church website, or in a letter from the church, not to file their federal income tax return before they receive their contribution summary from the church. Donors may not be able to deduct individual contributions of $250 or more if they file a tax return before receiving a contribution summary from their church.
“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes deductions available to fewer donors because of a substantial increase in the standard deduction,” explains CPA and attorney Richard Hammar in the May/June 2018 issue of Church Law & Tax Report. Even so, it’s still important to notify all donors, attorney and CPA Frank Sommerville stressed, because churches simply don’t know who might qualify for a deduction. It’s also a tried-and-true best practice for churches.
Answer many of your members’ questions about charitable giving and tax law with the 2019 Charitable Contributions Bulletin Inserts (for their 2018 returns). For one of your upcoming services, place copies in your church bulletins or worship guides.
This article is adapted from “Mastering Fifteen End-of-Year Tasks” in the November 2018 issue of Church Finance Today.
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