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BK-CPA, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Tax
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Experience:  Owner of a CPA firm
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I have made a number of donations to our local school, both

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I have made a number of donations to our local school, both in cash (check) and by purchasing supplies for them. In the past I recieved a letter from the school confirming the donation with their tax exempt number. Is a letter adequate or should I be receiving an IRS issued form?



Hello and thank you for your question.


The letter is adequate.


IRC 170 clarifies:


(8) Substantiation requirement for certain contributions

(A) General rule
No deduction shall be allowed under subsection (a) for any contribution of $250 or more unless the taxpayer substantiates the contribution by a contemporaneous written acknowledgment of the contribution by the donee organization that meets the requirements of subparagraph (B).

(B) Content of acknowledgement
An acknowledgement meets the requirements of this subparagraph if it includes the following information:

(i) The amount of cash and a description (but not value) of any property other than cash contributed.

(ii) Whether the donee organization provided any goods or services in consideration, in whole or in part, for any property described in clause (i).

(iii) A description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services referred to in clause (ii) or, if such goods or services consist solely of intangible religious benefits, a statement to that effect.

For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “intangible religious benefit” means any intangible religious benefit which is provided by an organization organized exclusively for religious purposes and which generally is not sold in a commercial transaction outside the donative context.

(C) Contemporaneous
For purposes of subparagraph (A), an acknowledgment shall be considered to be contemporaneous if the taxpayer obtains the acknowledgment on or before the earlier of—

(i) the date on which the taxpayer files a return for the taxable year in which the contribution was made, or

(ii) the due date (including extensions) for filing such return.




Note that contributions of property ($5,000+) may require an appraisal. IRC 170(f)(11) clarifies further.


I trust this answers your question. Thank you again!

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