We can't overemphasize the need to keep the required records for charitable donations, especially because the IRS is turning up the heat on donation deductions. Here's a recap of the main recordkeeping rules for donors:
Extra paperwork for gifts above $250
The IRS requires you to obtain a written acknowledgment from a charitable group for cash gifts of $250 or more.
You must obtain that acknowledgment by the time you file your tax return. It should include the amount of the check or cash donated, a detailed description of any donated property and the value of the benefit received (if the charity provided any goods or services). Key exception: You don't have to establish a value for an "intangible religious benefit" such as belonging to a congregation.
If your over-$250 contributions were made via (register to read more)deduction, you can substantiate the write-off with pay stubs or your Form W-2. Substantiation isn't...