Guidance for Charitable Organizations on Charitable Gift Acknowledgments

Posted on January 24, 2018

The following describes the case for receiving cash (includes check, credit card, etc) of $250 or more. IRS rules state that charitable gift acknowledgments are required for any single charitable donation of $250 or more. The acknowledgement must be given to the donor contemporaneously (see below), be in writing and must contain the following information: a) the amount of cash you contributed, b) whether the qualified organization gave you any goods or services as a result of your contribution (other than certain toke items and membership benefits c) a description of good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services described in b) (other than intangible religious benefits), and d) (in the case of religious institutions) a statement that the only benefit you received was an intangible religious benefit. The acknowledgment doesn’t need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit. An intangible religious benefit is a benefit that generally isn’t sold in commercial transactions. Examples include partaking sacraments or admission to a religious ceremony.

Charitable gift acknowledgments must be given in a contemporaneous fashion. The IRS defines that as the earlier of the date the donor’s tax return is filed or the due date, including extensions, for filing the return.

For non-cash gifts, the rules are similar to the requirements for cash gifts. However, I would advise organizations to only describe the gifts received without including a monetary value unless a qualified appraisal was made on the property given.