After extensive research in all of the parts of Title 26 (with particular attention 26 U.S. Code § 501 and 26 U.S. Code § 170), and consulting with a colleague that advises non-profits as the primary function of his LAw practice ...
I feel safe in telling you that you WILL NOT find a rule of law, an IRS interpretation (through its publications) or administration
OF the tax law, OR in case law (U.S. tax court, Federal
district courts, or Supreme Court)...
... that disallows a charity from establishing a value in a letter or a receipt.
As I mentioned above, however, what yo WILL find, repeatedly, is the IRS requiring the charity to provide a good faith estimate of any quid pro quo good or service ... so THAT the taxpayer taking the charitable deduction (as a part of the ABSOLUtE REQUIREMENT THAT the TAXPAYER provide the value - or in the case of a quid pro quo good or service from the donee, the NET value - of the deduction) establish the value of the donation, NOT the 501(c)(3).
A you can see here (really just a distillation and MAYBE an update in some areas of Pub 1771):
"The donee is not required to record or report this information to the IRS on behalf of a donor."
(You'll see this in the fourth paragraph from the bottom - you may simply do a search for the quote above on that page)
What the code, and the IRS in their administration of it IS completely clear about is that it is the DONOR who bears the burden
of proof regarding value.
AND the service has clarified that the charity is in no way REQUIRED - as you see above - to establish ANY value, (except the value IT may have exchange in a quid pro quo arrangement).
And this follows the very same logic. The Donor has he burden of proof not the donee.
As a matter of fact, as you see all through the literature, a qualified appraisal is required for donations over $5000, and this too (again, because it's being used to substantiate a charitable deduction is required of the DONOR, not the donee.
In summary, ...
(1) No rule of law exists (or interpretation of such law by IRS) that the Donee CANNOT or MUST not establish a value.
(2) The rule here, IS, however, that the DonOR substantiate that value.
(3) IRS clarifies that the Donee is not REQUIRED to establish a value, and
(4) There are a multitude of practical reasons that the practice of a donee NOT establishing or providing a value is a BEST practice.
(Not the least of which is being pulled into an audit
where a donor has over-stated the value of property donated)
Hope this helps
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