Year End Gifting Issues

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

A taxpayer must have a bank record or a written statement from the charity in order to deduct any
donation of money, regardless of amount. The record must show the name of the charity and the
date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, and bank, credit union
and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the
date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date,
and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card
and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2
wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for
charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.
These requirements for the deduction of monetary donations do not change the long-standing
requirement that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation
(either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required
information may meet both requirements.


The IRS offers the following additional reminders to help taxpayers plan their holiday and year-end
gifts to charity:

      •        Qualified charities. Check that the charity is eligible. Only donations to eligible
organizations are tax-deductible. Select Check, a searchable online tool available on, lists
most organizations that are eligible to receive deductible contributions. In addition, churches,
synagogues, temples, mosques and government agencies are eligible to receive deductible
donations. That is true even if they are not listed in the tool’s database.

      •        Year-end gifts. Contributions are deductible in the year made. Thus, donations charged to
a credit card before the end of 2014 count for 2014, even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2015.
Also, checks count for 2014 as long as they are mailed in 2014.

      •        Itemize deductions. For individuals, only taxpayers who itemize their deductions on Form
1040 S chedule A can claim deductions for charitable contributions. This deduction is not available to
individuals who choose the standard deduction. This includes anyone who files a short form (Form
1040A or 1040EZ). A taxpayer will have a tax savings only if the total itemized deductions (mortgage
interest, charitable contributions, state and local taxes, etc.) exceed the standard deduction. Use the
2014 Form 1040 Schedule A to determine whether itemizing is better than claiming the standard

      •        Record donations. For all donations of property, including clothing and household items,
get from the charity, if possible, a receipt that includes the name of the charity, date of the
contribution, and a reasonably-detailed description of the donated property. If a donation is left at a
charity’s unattended drop site, keep a written record of the donation that includes this information, as
well as the fair market value of the property at the time of the donation and the method used to
determine that value. Additional rules apply for a contribution of $250 or more.

      •        Special Rules. The deduction for a car, boat or airplane donated to charity is usually
limited to the gross proceeds from its sale. This rule applies if the claimed value is more than $500.
Form 1098-C or a similar statement, must be provided to the donor by the organization and attached
to the donor’s tax return.

If the amount of a taxpayer’s deduction for all noncash contributions is over $500, a properly-
completed Form 8283 must be submitted with the tax return. has additional information on charitable giving, including:
      •        Charities & Non-Profits
      •        Publication 526, Charitable Contributions
      •        Online mini-course, Can I Deduct My Charitable Contributions