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What Is a Tax Deductible Receipt?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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When a business or person figures taxes in the United States, charitable donations can be written off so less tax is paid or there is a higher return. In the past, a tax deductible receipt would not have been needed unless the donation was substantial, but that changed. As of 2011, formal receipts are needed for cash or property donations of $250 U.S. Dollars (USD) or more, and the donation must be itemized. Along with the tax deductible receipt, the donation must be made to a qualified organization for the amount to be written off.

The tax deductible receipt is just a piece of paper stating how much money or property was donated. If money was donated, the receipt will state, for example, that a $250 USD check was donated. If property was donated, the receipt must state what the property was and its estimated value.

Along with the donation, the cost of anything received in return must be added to the receipt. For example, someone goes to a charity dinner and donates $500 USD. When the receipt is written, the $500 USD will be marked as the donation, but the value of the dinner will be subtracted from that. If the dinner costs $15 USD, then the final donation amount is $485 USD.

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Writing a tax deductible receipt is simple. It must be done on the organization’s letterhead or paper including the organization’s logo, and must include the organization’s contact information and the contact information of the person who made the donation. In a table with two columns, write the value of the donation in one column and what property was donated in the other. If a check or cash was donated and no property changed hands, then a receipt note of “Check” or “Cash” is sufficient. At the bottom, write the final amount of the donation.

The donation and receipt must come from a qualified organization. Most qualified establishments are schools and non-profit organizations, though there are other organizations that qualify but do not fit this description. To find out if the organization is qualified, ask someone in the organization if donations are tax deductible.

For cash donations under $250 USD, a tax deductible receipt is not required. The taxpayer will need a copy of the check from the bank to prove the donation was made. A receipt must accompany donations above $250 USD and property donations of any value; otherwise, the donation cannot be taken off the tax amount.

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