John Bullis: More on charitable donations

The IRS final regulations provide documentation rules for cash (check) donations to a charity.

For any size of monetary gifts to a charity, to claim the deduction you need a canceled check, a bank record of the payment, a credit card statement that shows the payment, a written receipt from the charity or an e-mail from the charity that shows the date and amount of the gift.

Payroll stubs or a form W-2 that show the deduction from wages for a charitable contribution will be adequate to claim the deduction.

For all gifts (cash or check) to a charity for $250 or more, a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charity is required. That acknowledgment must also indicate if the giver received anything in return.

We’ll see how much IRS enforces compliance with the regulation. Unless the return is audited or a IRS Service Center asks for information and documentation, the cash or check contribution will probably not be questioned.

The main idea is to keep good records of your monetary gifts to charity for each year.

Perhaps you already have a folder for gifts to charities for 2018. If not, then now is a good time to get that folder started so you have the information for the end of the year.

Most folks will pay the contribution with a check or a charge on their credit card.

The new tax law doesn’t change the deduction for charitable contributions.

Don’t forget to claim a deduction of about 14 cents per mile for driving for a charity. Also, any out-of-pocket purchases for the charity (assuming you’re not reimbursed) is a charitable contribution. You need to make notes and keep whatever documentation you have in case IRS inquires.

Did you hear “There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men.” Billy Graham, clergyman

John Bullis is a certified public accountant, personal financial specialist and certified senior adviser who has served Carson City for 45 years. He is founder emeritus of Bullis and Company CPAs.


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