What records to keep when giving donations to a charity?

You can take a tax deduction for any money or property you donate to a qualified charitable organization (not to individuals and political organizations). Charitable nonprofit organizations have to apply to the IRS to become “qualified.”

Donation (contribution) more than $250 in cash or by check or credit card are not tax deductible unless proved by one of the following:

  1. A bank record that shows the name of the qualified organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. Bank records may include: a canceled check, a bank or credit union statement or a credit card statement.
    2. A receipt (or letter or other written communication) from the qualified organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.
    3. Payroll deduction records. The payroll records must include a pay stub, Form W-2 or other document furnished by the employer that shows the date and the amount of the contribution, and a pledge card or other document prepared by or for the qualified organization that shows the name of the organization.

For a more detailed understanding of the tax rules about deductions and recordkeeping, review IRS publication 526, which talks all about charitable contributions.

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