In order to claim a cash charitable deduction, taxpayers must keep records in the form of bank records or written acknowledgement from the charitable organization.

  • Donations less than $250 in any one day – taxpayer must keep a copy of a bank record such as a cancelled check or bank statement, or a written acknowledgement from the charitable organization stating the dollar amount and date of the charitable donation.
  • Donations of $250 or greater in any one day – taxpayer must maintain written acknowledgement from the charitable organization noting the amount and the date of charitable contribution.

For donations of stock and other marketable securities, the charity should send the donor an acknowledgement letter that describes the security, the number of shares and the date of the donation (i.e., “Thank you for your donation of 100 shares of XYZ Corporation on December 15, 20XX”) but does not place a monetary value on the shares. The letter should also state that “no goods or services were provided by the organization in exchange for the gift”.  It is recommended that the charity send the donor a separate receipt that reports the quantity and value of the donated shares on the date of the gift. While this receipt is not required, the donor will want this information for his/her own records. The value of a gift of publicly traded stock is the mean of the highest and lowest quoted selling prices on the date of the gift (excluding weekends or holidays). Neither the acknowledgment letter nor receipt need to report to the donor the proceeds from the sale of the donated securities.

Charity deduction for taxpayers that do not itemize their tax returns:

For the 2021 tax year, the IRS is again allowing taxpayers that file their tax return using the standard deduction to claim a charity deduction on their tax return.

The maximum allowed charity deduction for non-itemizers is $300 for single, head of household and married filing separate filers.  Joint filers are allowed a maximum deduction for charity in the amount of $600.  Only cash (cash, checks, and credit or debit card payments) qualify for this $300/$600 deduction.  Cash payments to a Donor Advised Fund do not qualify for this special charity deduction, nor do in-kind contributions.