Tax deductions for charitable giving require documentation

How much did you donate to charity last year? Can you prove it?

In order to take all the charitable contributions you are due on your taxes each year, you must provide documentation of the amount donated and to which organization.

The rules vary based on the type of donation – cash, in-kind, property, securities, etc. – but one thing is the consistent: The gifts must be documented.

The following is a snapshot of what is required by the IRS for various types of donations:

  • Cash donations of less than $250

A bank record or written receipt from the charity showing the organization’s name, date and amount of contribution is sufficient documentation for gifts of cash less than $250.

  • Property contributions of less than $250

Property donations valued at less than $250 must be substantiated by one of two means:

1. A written receipt or letter from the charitable organization showing the organization’s name, the date and place of the contribution, and a detailed description of the property; or

2. If it is impractical to obtain a receipt, reliable written records with the following information:

  • The organization’s name, the date and place of the contribution, and a detailed description of the property;
  • The fair market value of the property at the time of the contribution and how the fair market value was calculated. A signed copy of an appraisal should be kept;
  • The property’s cost or basis;
  • The terms or conditions attached to the gift;
  • The amount of deduction claimed; and
  • For securities, the issuer’s name, the type of security, and whether it is regularly traded on a stock exchange or over-the-counter market.


  • Cash and property contributions of $250 or more

Donors must get a written acknowledgement from the charity if the value of the contribution – whether in cash or other property –  is $250 or more. A canceled check is not sufficient proof. If the gift is cash, the amount given should be noted on the acknowledgement. The acknowledgement of a gift of property must describe the property, but the charity does not have to value it.

The written acknowledgement also needs to make note of whether the charity provided any goods or services in exchange for any of the cash or property donated, such as a charity dinner dance or athletic event tickets. If so, the statement must include a good faith estimate of the value of the goods and services, as well as a disclosure that only the “net” amount is deductible.

Even if no goods or services were provided in exchange for the donation, it may be a good idea to have that stated on the acknowledgement.

  • Property contributions of more than $5,000

To deduct any contribution of property, other than publicly traded securities, valued at more than $5,000, a donor must obtain a qualified written appraisal and attach it to an appraisal summary signed both by the appraiser and the charitable organization.

Note that the $5,000 threshold applies per item or per group of similar items. For example, a donation of five bags of clothing valued at $1,500 each would be considered a property donation of more than $5,000 for which a qualified written appraisal is required.

  • Out-of-pocket expenses for charitable organizations

Some donors have out-of-pocket expenses during the course of their involvement with a charitable organization, such as travel costs for board of directors’ meeting or for mission trips. In order to deduct these expenses, the donor must show that there was no significant element of personal pleasure involved with the travel. The charitable organization must also provide written acknowledgement about those out-of-pocket expenses in the same way an acknowledgement about a cash donation of must be obtained.

  • Donations for seating at collegiate athletic event

Payments to colleges and universities for the right to purchase tickets to athletic events are generally 80 percent deductible as charitable contributions. The written acknowledgement from the college or university about the donation must disclose  the fair market value of such a right, which is generally 20 percent of the amount paid.

The bottom line is the IRS wants to see documented proof of charitable contribution before approving deductions. If you have any questions about any charitable contributions made last year, please let us know.

Recent Articles:

Follow Antares CPAs:

Thank you for registering!

You will receive an email confirmation soon, and we look forward to seeing you at the Antares Wealth Symposium.

Make your room reservation now.

Use the link below to get a special room rate at the gorgeous Hotel Contessa where our symposium is being held.

Save my place!

Complete this short form to reserve your place at the free Antares Wealth Symposium. Watch for your confirmation email and we look forward to seeing you in San Antonio.

Contact Info
Guest Info

To help with meal planning, please indicate how many from your group will be attending each event.

Monday Dinner

Tuesday Breakfast

Tuesday Lunch

Dietary Restrictions
Other Accommodations
Contact Info
Guest Info

To help with meal planning, please indicate how many from your group will be attending each event.

Monday Dinner

Tuesday Breakfast

Tuesday Lunch

Dietary Restrictions
Other Accommodations

Succession & Transition Strategies

Creating a successful succession plan is about protecting the future of a business and/or brand and ensuring there is a strategy in place to ensure your business continues to thrive.

After years of investing time, money and other resources, it’s imperative to prepare for this next stage in business and life. Poor planning can increase risks for stakeholders and tarnish legacies. Let’s make sure the next generation is well-equipped and ready to take your life’s work and family legacy to an even greater level of success.

Each situation is unique because the needs of each one involved are unique. We carefully review each opportunity to determine how best to structure a transition while meeting your goals, complying with any brand licensing polices and minimizing the tax implications of the transfer.

  • Next generation succession planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Wealth management

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email

Technology Services

Antares Group’s technology team provides convenient hardware and software support, along with comprehensive cloud accounting services with 24/7 access to up-to-date financial information exactly the way you want it, on any connected device, with a customizable dashboard interface. We use best-in class cloud accounting platforms and software including Sage Intacct, and robot process automation (RPA) with integration capabilities with some of the leading point-of-sale, payroll, and business operations management software programs.

Cloud accounting is just the beginning; Antares Group’s experienced technology team also performs system evaluations and makes recommendations for products and services that will help your business run more efficiently, as well as protecting your information and infrastructure with robust security options. Using the right technology for automation will simplify your life and keep your valuable data safe..

  • Technology and security optimization
  • Complete cloud accounting services
  • Computer troubleshooting assistance with remote and onsite repair

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email

Business Planning & Valuation

An accurate understanding of your company’s current value and financial viability is vital for achieving business success and the launch pad to boundless possibilities in the years to come. Realistic valuations are essential for long-term strategic plans, business successions and expansions, gift and estate planning, and a lucrative retirement package. Planning for where you want to go in the future is what our business and tax advisors do best. Whatever your goals, we are here to provide you with the right plan and insightful guidance to achieve it.

  • Trend reporting and analysis and business valuation
  • General business and start-up consulting
  • Major reinvestment planning
  • Cash flow projections

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email

Back Office Solutions

In such a fast-moving business environment, business owners need every advantage to succeed. Improving efficiency should be an ongoing part of your strategy for financial success, empowering you to make continuous improvements.

Whether your business is a single location seeking to grow effectively and sustainably, an established franchise brand adding new locations, or something in between, Antares Group provides a suite of back office services and the financial expertise to help business owners and managers achieve their operational and financial goals. In the process of supporting your essential back office operations with practical solutions, we analyze the function and effectiveness, looking for inefficiencies and potential liabilities, offering valuable insights for owners and managers.

  • Daily deposit verification and online banking monitoring
  • Process invoices and code general ledger accounts
  • Process vendor payments and file 1099s
  • Prepare and file sales and use tax returns
  • Reconcile bank, credit card and cashless sales accounts

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email

Tax Advisory

Minimizing your tax burden is a year-round strategy; planning for and preparing complex business and individual tax returns is where Antares Group excels. Beyond simply helping you fulfill basic tax obligations, you can rely on our tax advisory team to keep you informed of ever-changing regulations and keep you in compliance. We conduct regular reviews to make sure all methods of reducing your tax liabilities are being used. We routinely assess your personal income tax situation and cash flow to guard against the unexpected. This ongoing strategic analysis empowers you to maximize tax savings and capitalize on new opportunities.

In addition, we provide advisory services for new business startups, acquisitions, and dispositions. Through careful analysis, we help clients determine the best structure and make the process as seamless as possible.

  • Business and individual year-end tax returns
  • Personal property, gift, and trust income tax returns
  • Fixed asset setup and maintenance
  • Annual tax planning and preparation

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email

Cloud Accounting

Whether you run a small closely held business or a large franchise operation, maintaining a firm grasp of accounting and bookkeeping can be challenging. Between managing staff and overseeing daily operations, there is not enough time to dig into the books and make sense of the financials. You need to know the facts and the implications. – having precise, up-to-date information at hand means you always know your financial position so you can make informed decisions that keep your business moving forward.

The financial experts at Antares can create a custom menu of accounting and tax services perfectly catered to your business needs, including accurate and timely financial statements and reports, so you are always prepared to respond quickly to changing and challenging circumstances. Along the way, we provide clear feedback and financial guidance to help you predict trends and recognize issues, then make the necessary adjustments to sustain cash flow throughout the year.

  • Timely preparation of financial statements based on your particular needs
  • Complete preparation of sales, payroll, inventory, accrual, and prepaid journal entries
  • Meticulous monthly bank and credit card reconciliations

Antares Cloud Accounting services uses industry leading Sage Intacct managment software to provide the precise, up-to-date information you need to always know your financial position, so you can make well-informed decisions.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email