Tax Tip: Don't Lose Your Charitable Deduction for Lack of Paperwork - A message from tax attorney Paul Topolka, former District Counsel of the IRS for North-South Carolina


Charitable contributions are only deductible if you itemize and have the proper substantiation.

For cash contributions of less than $250, you must have either a cancelled check/credit card receipt or a written statement from the charity that substantiates the donation.

For cash contributions of $250 or more, a cancelled check/credit card receipt is not enough.

You must obtain, by the time your return is filed (including extensions) in order to satisfy the contemporaneous requirement of the Section 170(f)(8), a written statement from the charity. It must:

  • Reflect the amount of the donation;
  • List any significant goods or services provided in exchange for the donation (other than intangible religious benefits); or,
  • Specifically state that “no goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution.”

Obtaining the statement that “no goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution” from the charity when you are audited will not satisfy the contemporaneous requirement.

Numerous taxpayers have learned this the hard way – losing their cases before the Tax Court on this very point. So please review your charitable deductions now and look for the magical statement that:

“No goods or services were provided in exchange for this contribution.”


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Nexsen Pruet, PLLC | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Nexsen Pruet, PLLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.