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Did you have any charitable contributions in 2021? Here are the requirements to deduct these donations.

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You may receive a letter from an organization you donated to that acknowledges your contribution in the mail. But what happens if you donated in 2021 but haven’t received a confirmation letter – can these contributions still be deducted on your tax return? Generally, it can be deducted, provided the requirements below are met.

Requirements to claim a charitable contribution

For a charitable donation of $250 or more to be a tax deduction, a donor must have a written acknowledgment from the charitable organization. The donor must receive this written letter by the earlier of:

  1. The date the donor files the original tax return for 2021, or
  2. The due date, including extensions, of the return

It’s the responsibility of the donor to ask for and receive written acknowledgment from the charitable organization. If you donated in 2021 but haven’t received a letter or filed your 2021 taxes, contact the charity, and request a written acknowledgment.

For gifts of under $250, using cash, a check, or a credit card, generally can use a bank statement, canceled check, or credit card statement as supporting documentation. However, if you received any benefit in return for your contribution (Merchandise, goods or services, event invitations, etc.) your eligible deduction is reduced by the value of the benefit – and a written acknowledgment from the charity is required.

Temporary deduction for non-itemizers

In general, taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions (and instead claim the standard deduction) can’t claim a charitable deduction. However, under the COVID-19 relief laws, individuals can claim a federal income tax write-off for up to $300 of cash contributions to IRS-approved charities for the 2021 tax year. This deduction is $600 for married joint filers for cash contributions made in 2021. Unfortunately, the deduction for nonitemizers isn’t available for 2022 unless Congress extends the act.

Additional requirements

Additional substantiation requirements apply to some types of donations. For example, if you donate property valued at more than $500, a completed Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions) must be attached to your tax return to claim the deduction.

Donated property with a value of more than $5,000, generally requires a qualified appraisal and an appraisal summary to be attached to the tax return.

We can help with any questions about sufficient substantiation or any of the other requirements for claiming a charitable contributions tax deduction.

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