Over the next several weeks, taxpayers will be scrambling to make sure they have all the proper paperwork for preparing their 2018 Federal Income Tax returns.

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One area we’ve found challenging to some of our clients over the years is providing the right documentation to substantiate sizable charitable contributions.

The IRS recently published final regulations clarifying several aspects of charitable gift reporting:

Donations of cash

For contributions of $250 to $500

To claim a cash contribution of $250 to $500, you must obtain a contemporaneous (originating at the time as the gift) written acknowledgement from the recipient of the donation.

For contributions of more than $500

To claim a monetary gift of $500 or more, you need either a bank record or a written communication with the recipient showing the name of the recipient, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution.

Donations of property

To claim a donation of property valued under $250, you must receive a receipt from the recipient or keep “reliable records.” (We encourage getting a receipt.)

To claim non-cash contributions valued between $250 and $500, you’re required to obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment.

To claim a donation valued between $500 but less than $5,000, you must obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the recipient and file Form 8283 using Section A, Donated Property of $5,000 or Less and Publicly Traded Securities.

To claim a non-cash donation valued between $5,000 and $500,000, in addition to a contemporaneous written acknowledgment, you must obtain a qualified appraisal and  file Form 8283 using Section B, Donated Property Over $5,000 (Except Publicly Traded Securities).

To claim a non-cash contribution of $500,000 or more, you must meet the requirements for a contribution of $5,000 to $500,000 and attach the qualified appraisal to your return.

What’s a qualified appraisal?

The IRS regulations define a “qualified appraiser” as an individual with “verifiable education and experience in valuing the relevant type of property for which the appraisal is performed” (Regs. Sec. 1.170A-17(b)(1)).


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