Tips Concerning Charitable Contributions

December 23, 2014

Donations of Property, including Clothing and Household Items. Your records must include receipt acknowledgment of the donated items, date of contribution, name of qualified charitable organization, and detailed description of the donated property, including the fair market value of the property and method used to determine the value. The IRS is beginning to scrutinize these types of deductions more closely. In our experience, it seems they want to see proof that you actually owned the items donated. One way to provide proof is to take a picture of the items prior to donating and keep the picture with your records.

Non-Cash donations which total over $500 require those details to be reported on Form 8283 when your tax return is filed, so remember to provide details to us for those items.

Monetary Donations. Your records must include either a bank record of the donation (cancelled checks or credit card statements), or a written communication from the qualified charitable organization showing the name of the organization, date and amount of the donation. For payroll deductions, keep Form W-2 or the check stub to support the donation.

Auto, Boat or Airplane Donations. If you are claiming more than $500, these donations are limited to the gross proceeds from their resale. You should receive a Form 1098-C or similar statement which reflects the proceeds from the sale.

Donations are deductible in the year made. Checks dated and mailed before the end of the year, and credit card charges made before the end of the year are deductible regardless of when your check clears the bank or credit card statement is received and paid.

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