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Charitable giving and substantiation – what you need to know for the 2023 tax season

Donating to charity can make you feel good and if you itemize on your tax return, can ease your tax burden as well.

If you donated to charity during 2023 or plan to donate in 2024, here is what you need to know to claim the donation on your tax return.


IRS substantiation requirements

Taxpayers must comply with IRS substantiation requirements as proof of donation to claim a tax deduction. Donations under $250 made with cash or credit card require less stringent substantiation – proof can be a canceled check, bank statement, or credit card statement showing the donation.

Donations of $250 or more require additional substantiation – a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charitable organization. This must state the amount of the donation, if any goods/services were received as a result of the donation, and the value of such goods/services. In this situation, “contemporaneous” means the earlier of the date you file your tax return or the extended due date of your tax return.


What happens if you made a donation in 2023 of over $250 but have not yet received anything from the charity?

Request written acknowledgement from the charity right away. You have up until you file your 2023 tax return to obtain this proof.


Did you receive something in return for your donation?

In most cases, the deduction on your tax return must be reduced by the value of what you received. The same written acknowledgement from above is required in this case as well.


Additional requirements for noncash donations

Did you donate property valued at more than $500? Additional substantiation is required and Form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions must be included with your tax return. Did you donate property with a value of more than $5,000? A qualified appraisal must be included with your tax return.

Contact us if you have questions on the substantiation needed for any 2023 charitable giving or substantiation needed in planning for 2024 gifts.

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