Starting January 1, 2007, IRS regulations require that ALL contributions must be documented if you plan to deduct a charitable contribution.

Cash Contributions under $250:

Acceptable documentation includes receipts from the organization, canceled checks, or bank or credit card records. Documentation must include the name of the organization, the date of the contribution and the amount contributed. You may not take any deduction for undocumented cash contributions. For example, if you put cash in the collection plate at church or the bell ringer's holiday kettle and you have no receipt, bank record, or credit card bill, you have no deduction. If you purchase items for your school, church, or another non-profit organization, you may not use the store receipt. You must submit your receipts and acquire documentation from the qualified non-profit organization.

Cash Contributions of $250 or more:

An actual receipt from the organization is required if a single contribution is over $250.

Non-Cash Contributions:

Donations of clothing and household items must be in at least "good" condition. A detailed list of items, with the value of each item, along with a receipt from the organization, showing the name of the organization and the date and location of the contribution is acceptable. You are not required to have a receipt where it is impractical to get one (for example, if you leave property at a charity's unattended drop site). However, you still need to document each contribution with the same details as required for receipted donations. For individual items valued between $250 and $500, a receipt is required with the same information as a cash donation, including a description of the item(s). For donations valued between $501 and $5000, additional records must show how and when the property was acquired. Donations of items over $5000 require an appraisal of the item in addition to the documentation listed above.

Resources and Value Guides:

IRS Pub 561 (PDF)
IRS Pub 526 (PDF)
IRS pub 1771 (PDF)

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