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End of Year Contributions

How to address donations dated the previous year.

The first Sunday in January often presents problems for church treasurers regarding the correct receipting of charitable contributions. For example, the first Sunday in January of 1996 falls on January 7th. Can a member who contributes a personal check to your church on Sunday, January 7th, deduct the check on his or her 1995 federal tax return if the check is backdated to read "December 31, 1995"? Many churches advise their congregations during worship services conducted on the first Sunday in January that checks contributed on that day can be credited to the previous year if they are dated December 31st of the previous year. Is this true? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The income tax regulations specify that "ordinarily, a contribution is made at the time delivery is effected. The unconditional delivery or mailing of a check which subsequently clears in due course will constitute an ...

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Posted:
  • December 1, 1995

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