Non-Cash Charitable Gift Documentation

Many of us clean out our closets and cabinets throughout the year donating our no-longer-used clothing and household items to our favorite charitable organization or church. Now it’s time to begin our search for the receipts or acknowledgement letters so we can include them with our tax-related documents.

The Internal Revenue Service requires documentation for certain contributions. For any contribution of $250 or more, the taxpayer must have a contemporaneous written acknowledgement of the contribution by the donee organization.

What does this mean?

Simply, for any donation exceeding $250 or more, you must have documentation to support that donation from the organization.

Make sure your receipt or letter describes the items you donate. It is a good idea to list the items as you place them in bags or boxes then attach the list to the receipt or letter.

Provide a good faith estimate of the value of the items donated. The Salvation Army has an excellent donation valuation guide available on its website . Remember, your tax preparer cannot place a value on your items.

Look closely at your receipt or acknowledgement for a statement indicating that “No goods or services were provided in exchange for items donated” or that “Only intangible religious benefits were provided”. A receipt or acknowledgement is invalid as documentation without this type of statement.

Finally, you should have documentation in hand by the time you file your tax return.