Acknowledging Charitable Contributions

Samples of Donation letters

Questions? 

Contact
Conference Treasurer/CFO John Cardillo


There are two general rules that a church or religious organization needs to be aware of to meet substantiation and disclosure requirements for federal income tax return reporting purposes. (See further information at the IRS website).

Requirements for donors

A donor is responsible for obtaining a written acknowledgment from a charity for any single contribution of $250 or more before the donor can claim a charitable contribution on his or her federal income tax return. 

A charitable organization is required to provide a written disclosure to a donor who receives goods or services in exchange for a single payment in excess of $75. 

A donor cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of $250 or more unless the donor obtains a contemporaneous, written acknowledgment of the contribution from the recipient church or religious organization.

Providing documentation

A church or religious organization that does not acknowledge a contribution incurs no penalty; but without a written acknowledgment, the donor cannot claim a tax deduction. Although it is a donor’s responsibility to obtain a written acknowledgment, a church or religious organization can assist the donor by providing a timely, written statement containing the following information: 

  • Name of the church or religious organization
  • Date of the contribution
  • Amount of any cash contribution
  • Description (but not the value) of non-cash contributions

In addition, the timely, written statement must contain one of the following: 

  • Statement that no goods or services were provided by the church or religious organization in return for the contribution
  • Statement that goods or services that a church or religious organization provided in return for the contribution consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits
  • Description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services other than intangible religious benefits that the church or religious organization provided in return for the contribution

The church or religious organization may either provide separate acknowledgments for each single contribution of $250 or more or one acknowledgment to substantiate several single contributions of $250 or more. Separate contributions are not aggregated for purposes of measuring the $250 threshold.