A member of our church made a substantial contribution for the erection of a stained glass window in our sanctuary. We would like to insert a small plaque recognizing the donor by name. A board member insists that doing so will preclude a charitable contribution deduction. Is this true?
The IRS has observed: "Payments an exempt organization receives from donors are nontaxable contributions where there is no expectation that the organization will provide a substantial return benefit. Mere recognition of a … contributor as a benefactor normally is incidental to the contribution and not of sufficient value to the contributor to [preclude a charitable contribution deduction]. Examples of mere recognition [that do not nullify a charitable contribution deduction] are naming a … building after a benefactor." IRS News Release IR-92-4.