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Tax Court Denies Deductions for Alleged Contributions

A church trustee's deductions were denied.

• The Tax Court denied a charitable contribution deduction to a church trustee for alleged contributions made to his church. In 1972, the trustee (who also served as choir leader and youth director of his church) purchased a home jointly with the church's pastor. A few years later, the trustee transferred his interest in the home to the pastor. However, the trustee continued to live in the home. In 1983, the trustee claimed an income tax deduction for cash contributions to the church in the amount of $9,354.10. Attached to the trustee's tax return was a letter from the pastor which stated: "Please be advised that the amount of monies reflected below indicates your contributions given to the church during the Year: Tithes (20%) of $ 3,346.22, church dues of $36, freewill offerings of $468, and building fund drive for 1983 of $5,503.88, for a total of $ 9,354.10." The IRS later audited ...

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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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  • November 1, 1991

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