Record Keeping & Reporting of Non-Cash Donations

Your recordkeeping of non-cash donations depends on the dollar amount of your gift. That value also determines the manner in which donations get reported on your tax return.

  • Gifts valued at less than $250: You will need a receipt from the charity showing the date of your contribution, the organization’s address, and a reasonably detailed description of the property. The receipt doesn’t have to state the value of the property you gave away. Keep in mind that you aren’t required to have a receipt when it’s impractical to get one, for example, if you deposit your donation at an unattended bin site. But whether or not a receipt is required, you still need to keep a written record of each item you give away.
  • Gifts of $250 but not over $500: For goods valued in this category, you must obtain a timely written acknowledgment of your gift from the charity. Without the written acknowledgment, you get no charitable deduction. The acknowledgment needs to contain the following information: (a) a description of the property you gave away, and (b) whether you received any goods or services from the charity in return for your gift (if so, the value of the goods or services needs to be stated).
  • Gifts over $500 but not over $5,000: For donations of this amount, you must have a receipt from the charitable organization in the same format described under “Gifts of $250 but not over $500”; otherwise, you’ll get no deduction. However, the information required to be included in the written record must also include details about your acquisition of the property donated. In addition, deductions for these larger gifts require attaching a special IRS form to your tax return for the year of your contribution.
  • Gifts over $5,000: You are required to obtain a qualified appraisal and attach an “appraisal summary” to your tax return. The values of all items donated during the year that are similar in nature are added together to determine whether this rule applies. Since many complicated rules can apply to contributions in this category, it’s best to contact this office before you make your contribution. Recordkeeping for gifts valued over $5,000 are the same as those listed previously for “Gifts over $500 but not more than $5,000.” In addition, you are required to get an authorized signature from an official of the charitable organization. Page 2 of IRS Form 8283