Substantiation Requirements for Charitable Contributions of Cash
The substantiation requirements for cash donations of less than $250 are fairly informal. To substantiate these types of donations you should maintain a bank record (bank statement, canceled check or credit card statement) of the contribution or written communication from the donee stating the name of the organization as well as the date and dollar amount of the donation.
For cash donations of $250 or more, more stringent substantiation requirements exist. You must obtain a contemporaneous written acknowledgment from the charitable organization containing the following information:
- The name of the organization
- The date of the contribution
- The amount of the contribution
- Whether the donee/organization provided goods or services in consideration for the donation
- A good-faith estimate of the value of any goods or services the organization provided
- If goods or services received consist solely of intangible religious benefits, the contemporaneous documentation must contain a statement to that effect
To meet the "contemporaneous" requirement, the written acknowledgment must be obtained by the donor no later than the date the donor files his or her tax return for the year the contribution is made.