Ensuring Donors Get Their Due
Churches must include key, timely language to keep donations deductible.

Durden v. Commissioner, TC Memo. 2012-140 (2012)

Donors must comply with specific substantiation requirements in order to claim charitable contribution deductions on their tax returns. Special rules apply to any contribution of cash or property valued by the donor at $250 or more. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a loss of a tax deduction.

It is important for church treasurers to be familiar with these requirements, since they generally are responsible for the issuance of contribution statements and receipts. A recent Tax Court ruling illustrates the importance of compliance with these rules.

A married couple (the "taxpayers") timely filed their 2007 income tax return. On Schedule A they claimed a deduction of $25,171 for charitable contributions made by cash or check. Most of the contributions were made by check to their church. Except for five checks totaling $317, the checks were for amounts larger than $250.

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Posted: August 1, 2012
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