The Internal Revenue Code applies substantiation requirements for donors, and disclosure requirements for charitable organizations, in connection with charitable contributions. For a detailed discussion of the substantiation and disclosure requirements for charitable contributions, see:
- Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions: Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements
- Required Disclosures (online mini-course)
Substantiation of Contributions
A donor can deduct a charitable contribution of $250 or more only if the donor has a written acknowledgment from the charitable organization.
The donor must get the acknowledgement by the earlier of:
- The date the donor files the original return for the year the contribution is made, or
- The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.
The donor is responsible for requesting and obtaining the written acknowledgement from the donee.
A donor cannot claim a deduction for any contribution of cash, a check or other monetary gift made on or after January 1, 2007, unless the donor maintains a written record of the contribution.
Donors who purchase items at a charity auction may claim a charitable contribution deduction for the excess of the purchase price paid for an item over its fair market value.
Substantiating Noncash Contributions
Additional substantiation requirements generally apply to contributions of property. Charitable organizations can help their contributors by providing the required substantiation.
Quid Pro Quo Contributions
A charitable organization must provide a written disclosure statement to any donor of a quid pro quo contribution over $75.
Additional substantiation and disclosure rules may apply when a donor contributes a vehicle to a charitable organization and claims the value of the vehicle is more than $500. See Publication 4302, A Charity's Guide to Vehicle Donations, Publication 4303, A Donor's Guide to Vehicle Donations, and the IRS Video Portal for more information.