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Documenting Charitable Contributions
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Documenting Charitable Contributions

A donor can deduct a charitable contribution of $250 or more only if the donor has a written acknowledgment from the charitable organization. In addition, a donor may claim a deduction for contributions of cash, check, or other monetary gifts only if the donor maintains certain written records.

Written Acknowledgments For Charitable Contributions

The written acknowledgment required to substantiate a charitable contribution of $250 or more must contain the following information:

  • Name of the organization;
  • Amount of cash contribution;
  • Description (but not value) of non-cash contribution;
  • Statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization, if that is the case;
  • Description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that organization provided in return for the contribution; and
  • Statement that goods or services, if any, that the organization provided in return for the contribution consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits, if that was the case.

The donor must get the acknowledgment by the earlier of:

    1. The date the donor files the original return for the year the contribution is made,


  1. The due date, including extensions, for filing the return.

A donor may not 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 record of the contribution in the form of either a bank record (such as a cancelled check) or a written communication from the charity (such as a receipt or a letter) showing the name of the charity, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.
The donor is responsible for requesting and obtaining the written acknowledgment from the donee.
Additional information

  • Publication 1771, Charitable Contributions, Substantiation and Disclosure Requirements
  • Publication 526, Charitable Contributions
  • Notice 2006-110: Record-keeping requirements for charitable contributions made through payroll deductions.
  • Notice 2008-16: Rules for substantiating lump-sum charitable contributions made through the Combined Federal Campaign or a similar program (e.g., a United Way campaign).

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.