Coughlin & Gerhart LLP

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A helpful guide for understanding proof of charitable donations

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Charitable Giving

Each year, many adults in New York prepare their tax returns. For the sizeable portion of people who itemize their deductions, they have many ways to lessen how much they pay back to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). One way to reduce your tax-related expenses is by giving back to charitable organizations.

Providing proof of charitable contributions

The IRS requires proof of charitable contributions for taxpayers to deduct charitable donations from their income taxes. Without proof, it would be easy to claim false deductions.

Some qualified charitable organizations provide receipts or invoices to donators each year. However, it’s best for a taxpayer to keep accurate records of receipts and invoices related to their charitable giving.

Cash donations

The IRS accepts proof of cash and non-cash charitable donations. However, what the IRS requires differs based on what you donate and how much your donations are worth. You can provide proof of charitable contributions for cash donations under $250 by providing a receipt or bank record.

What to provide differs for cash donations over $250. In this case, the organization you donated to must provide a dated written acknowledgment of your donation. The same organization must also acknowledge whether it provided you with any services or goods for your gift.

Non-cash donations

While typically less common, people also donate non-cash items to charities. Generally, it takes a few more steps to provide proof of charitable contributions for non-cash donations. For smaller donations, you’ll provide descriptions and estimated values of what you donate. If your non-cash donation is worth more than $5,000, you’ll also need to present an expert appraisal verifying the worth of your gift.

Keeping receipts from charitable contributions is a must, especially if you’re a frequent donator or donate valuable non-cash items or lots of cash.


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