Magazine article The Christian Century

IRS Now Demands Receipts for Even Small Church Donations

Magazine article The Christian Century

IRS Now Demands Receipts for Even Small Church Donations

Article excerpt

The next time you toss bills into the church collection plate, you might want to ask the usher for a receipt.

New federal rules for the 2007 tax year--which took effect January 1--forbid tax deductions for charitable donations unless the taxpayer can substantiate the donation through receipts or official financial records.

The rules, enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, require that people claiming charitable donations back up those deduction claims with canceled checks; records from banks, credit card companies or credit unions; or written notices from the charity or not-for-profit institution.

In the past, the IRS has allowed personal notes, diaries or bank registers as sufficient proof that a person actually placed those $5, $10 or $20 bills in the basket each week of the year.

Congress approved the new guidelines in August as an add-on to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which deals mostly with pension and retirement savings. President Bush signed them into law. The new rules cover monetary donations to all charitable institutions, not just religious ones.

The changes shouldn't affect the giving habits of people who already use church-provided envelopes, write cheeks or donate over the Internet. …

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