If you give cash or a cash-equivalent gift to a qualified charity at year-end, you can generally deduct the entire amount of the donation.
Strategy: Make sure to comply with all the recordkeeping requirements. The IRS is a stickler in this area.
Although recent tax-law changes have made it tougher to substantiate monetary contributions, it’s usually worth the effort.
Here’s the whole story: Currently, no deduction is allowed for any contribution of cash, check or other monetary gift unless you can show a bank record or credit card bill (for donations under $250) or a written acknowledgment from the charity (for donations of $250 or more). The written receipt acknowledgment must indicate:
- The amount of the contribution
- The date the contribution was made
- The name of the charitable organization
- The value of any benefits that you received (such as tickets to a banquet).
Therefore, you can’t simply write off cash giveaways like you could in the not-so-distant past. But contributions of less than $250 made via checks or a credit or debit card can be substantiated by your cancelled check, bank statement or credit card statement.