While it may be nice that your client gave money to a charity, they must provide contemporaneous proof if it was over $250. In other words, submitting a cancelled check just doesn’t cut it. It’s not enough to prove that the client actually made the gift.
What the client needs to substantiate their charitable gifts:
- Written contemporaneous proof from the charity in question that the client made a donation, including “all” relevant details.
- The client must be able to prove that they made the gift—not someone else.
- The proof must include the precise value of the gift.
- The proof must state that the client did not receive any services or goods in return for their gift.
It doesn’t get much clearer than that.
Even if the client actually made the gift, if they do not have the proper backup, including a contemporaneous acknowledgement, the deduction will be denied. See Durden et ux. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2012-140 (No. 17441-09).
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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