How does the IRS substantiate charitable donations?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may not take your claim of a charitable donation at your word. In some cases, the agency may require additional information to substantiate the claim. Just how the agency goes about substantiating the claim can vary, but three specific things the IRS tends to expect in these situations include:

  • Cash. A claim for a cash donation to a charitable organization can raise red flags. As such, taxpayers are wise to keep a record of communication or bank record to document the donation. This information should include the name of the organization, date and amount of the contribution as well as the name of the donee.
  • Property. Donations of real property can include everything from clothes to vehicles and other large items. The IRS generally requires a receipt for the donation of smaller items with a value under $250. The agency requires written acknowledgement for donations estimated at a worth of $250 to $500. Those between $500 and $5,000 in value require a written acknowledgement of receipt and a special tax form.
  • Appraisals. The IRS often requires an appraisal for any donation of property estimated to exceed $5,000 in value. This appraisal must be conducted by a qualified appraiser. The IRS defines a "qualified appraiser" as one who has "verifiable education and experience in valuing the relevant type of property for which the appraisal is performed." This basically translates to mean an individual with a professional college-level degree that applies to valuing property such as the claimed item and at least two years of experience in the field.

A failure to properly document charitable donations claimed on one's tax return can result in problems in the event of an audit. As such, anyone in this position is wise to seek legal counsel promptly to help protect their rights when undergoing an investigation by the IRS.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • ABA | American Bar Association
  • AV Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest level of Professional Excellence | 2018
  • Virginia State Bar | 1938
  • Super lawyer | 2018
  • DC Bar
  • American Bar Academy of Attorney - CPAs | The power of the dual view
Email Our Team

Contact Us to Get Started Today

Located in the Washington, D.C area, we serve clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia, as well as across the country and overseas. For a free initial consultation, call 202-381-1261 or complete our brief online form.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Six Convenient Office Locations in and around the DC Metropolitan Area

Washington, D.C.
1629 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006

Phone: 202-618-1873
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Columbia Office
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 300
Columbia, MD 21044

Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Annapolis Office
888 Bestgate Road
Suite 400
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Fairfax Office
8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Suite 600
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: 703-621-7169
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Rockville Office
199 E. Montgomery Avenue
Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: 240-599-5009
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Baltimore Office
400 East Pratt Street
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 443-743-3381
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions