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Substantiation of Cash Donations

There is some confusion regarding this issue.

• There is some confusion regarding the documentation required to substantiate a charitable contribution of cash. The confusion has been caused by an organization that is informing churches that checks and periodic church contribution summaries are not sufficient documentation to support a charitable contribution deduction. This organization is informing church leaders that cash contributions are deductible only if donors use special offering envelopes (which it will provide for a fee), and that pastors and board members face possible jail sentences for not following its advice. Such advice is reckless and irresponsible, and is needlessly causing alarm. Let's see what the IRS itself says about the documentation needed to substantiate cash contributions. In Publication 526, the IRS states that "if you make a charitable contribution of money you must keep one of the following for each ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • May 1, 1991

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