Giving money or goods to a charity is admirable but it can also lead to headaches with the IRS if you don’t do it right. The tax attorneys at the Law Offices Of Jeffrey B. Kahn, P.C. have dealt with many cases where charity donations being claimed incorrectly were picked up in tax audits and the IRS was looking to assess penalties. As a leading tax attorney in San Francisco, we can offer some tips that can help you to avoid potential problems down the road with a tax filing relating to your charitable giving.
Donating Clothes and Household Goods: One common issue that IRS tax attorneys see with charitable giving comes from donating clothes and household items. If you donate goods with a value of more than $250, you need to get an acknowledgement of the donation in writing from the charity.
Donating Money: If you make a donation of more than $250 to a charity, you need to receive a letter acknowledging this donation from the charity in order to claim a tax exemption. If your donation is under $250, you can either use this type of letter or a bank statement, canceled check or credit card statement as proof of the donation.
Eligible Donations: One of the major issues that an IRS agent will see as a red flag is claiming an ineligible donation. In order for your donation to be tax-deductible, the organization you give it to has to be a registered Exempt Organization. Also, your charitable deduction cannot include the value of any benefits you received from the charity. An example would be where you paid $200 to attend a charitable ball for which the charity states that the value of the ticket is $75. In such an instance your charitable deduction would be $125.