An airline pilot claimed a charitable contribution on his tax return of $20,000 for contributions made to his church. The church provided him with a receipt showing $6,000 in contributions. The donor insisted that his religious principles constrained him to make cash donations to his church anonymously. He claimed that his anonymous cash donations amounted to $14,000. The IRS denied any deduction for the anonymous cash contributions, and the Tax Court agreed. It concluded: “We appreciate the donor’s religious beliefs and practices, but a deduction for a charitable contribution, whether made in cash or otherwise, must be substantiated by at least one of the following: (1) A canceled check; or (2) a receipt from the donee charitable organization showing the name of the donee, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.” Additional requirements apply to individual cash contributions of $250 or more. Tucker v. Commissioner, T.C. Summary Opinion 2008-78.
This article first appeared in Church Finance Today, October 2008.