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Record keeping

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Updated: 1/10/2008 11:29 am
Dan Pilla of, Over the years, recordkeeping for charitable contributions has become very tricky. It’s no longer good enough to simply keep copies of your canceled checks that show all your contributions. Now, to get the benefit of your deduction, your canceled check must be accompanied by what’s called a contemporaneous acknowledgement. This is a written statement from your church or charity that states the amount you gave, when you gave it, and most importantly, whether you received anything of value in exchange for your gift. If you did, you cannot claim a deduction for the value of the products or services you received. It’s referred to as a contemporaneous acknowledgement because you must have the acknowledgement in hand before filing your tax return. Getting it later means that you could lose your deduction, even if you have your canceled check. You need a contemporaneous acknowledgement for any one-time cash contribution of $250 or more. This refers to single gifts, not a total of gifts paid over the course of an entire year.
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