When are Gift Receipts Required by Law?

The other day I had a church ask “Who are we required to send Giving Statements?” They were debating not giving statements to those non-member that made a one-time gift for less than a certain amount. It costs time and money, and, if the person isn’t really connected to the church, is it worth it?

Technically, the church isn’t required to issue Giving Statements. This is a service for your donors for when they file taxes. Also, only a handful of people in your church likely even need a giving statement. Only those people that Itemize their taxes actually are required to have one…and only if they made a gift of $250 or larger or a noncash gift.

In the Useful Links, I put a couple of templates for giving letters that might help. Since so few people actually need them for tax purposes, spend more time making this into a meaning communication with those supporting your ministry while still checking off the IRS requirements. Here’s what the IRS requires in a gift receipt:

  • Name of the Charity: I usually print receipts on church letterhead as well as mentioning the name of the church in the letter. By the way, churches are automatically considered 501(c)(3)’s by the IRS.
  • Amount of Cash or Description of Noncash Item: For individual gifts of $250 or more, these need to be listed out along with their date. If someone gives $100 each week, no receipt is required even though they give $5,200 for the year. If someone give a one-time gift of $250, a receipt is required. Noncash items need to be described as well as their condition. E.g., 15 used men’s t-shirts in good condition.
  • Weasel Words: The church should include a version of the statement: “no goods or services were provided by the organization in return for the contribution besides intangible religious benefits.”

Useful Links

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