NEW YORK (MainStreet) — It is very important that you keep good records to document your charitable contributions.
A deduction will not be allowed for any contribution made by cash or check unless you have a hard-copy record of the contribution. The record must be in the form of:
- an actual canceled check
- a bank record (for instance, a copy of the front of the check included on your monthly bank statement)
- an entry on a bank or credit card statement indicating a credit or debit card charge
- a written communication from the donee showing the name of the donee organization, the date of the contribution and the amount of the contribution.
In the case of a payroll deduction for United Way or any other charity the IRS tells us:
“For a charitable contribution made by payroll deduction, a pay stub, Form W-2 or other employer-furnished document that sets forth the amount withheld for a payment to a donee organization, along with a pledge card prepared by or at the direction of the donee organization, will be deemed to be a ‘written communication from the donee organization’ that satisfies the requirements.”
You can no longer tell the IRS that you put a five- or 10-dollar bill in the collection plate each week. You must write a check to the church for the $5 or $10 each week or take advantage of the church's “envelope” system, which will provide you with a written receipt at the end of the year.
The law does not say that all contributions of more than $50 or more than $100 must be documented. It says all cash contributions must be documented. If you give the Disabled American Veterans a dollar for a poppy, you must get a receipt!