Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
As we all know, it’s important to get the details right when you are filing taxes. When it comes to charitable contributions, it’s even more important. The Tax Code doesn’t just require the paperwork to show the amount donated, it requires you to get the receipts on time—and those receipts must clearly specify that you did not receive anything in exchange for your donation. Without all those elements being in place, even a sympathetic Tax Court judge cannot help you.
This information is as important for you to know as it is for your favorite charity. If the charity doesn’t take care of its end properly, you and others like you will not continue to make donations.
When my father-in-law died, we tried to donate two nearly new electric wheelchairs to his church. The chairs, when new, cost over $10,000 each—so they were quite valuable and helpful items for a church full of aging members. And yet we had to send the paperwork back to the church four times before we got the correct information on the letter we needed to document the donation.
What do you need on the donation receipt or letter from your charity?
1) The name of the charity, its address, and its phone number.
2) The charity’s IRS taxpayer ID number. This is a nine-digit number configured as follows: XX-XXXXXXX.
3) A date from before you file your tax return—preferably with the year of the donation included. This is crucial. If this document is dated late, it will instantly cost you the entire tax deduction.
4) A statement that no goods or services were provided in exchange for your contributions. If you did receive something of value, the document must show the value. For instance, if you paid $500 a plate at a fundraising dinner, and the value of the food was $50, the receipt must show that you received $50 worth of value. That means that only $450 of your payment is deductible.
When you make any donation of $250 or more, it’s imperative that you get this documentation in each and every instance. It helps to keep copies of canceled checks or other proof of your donation. But without a timely receipt or letter from the charity, you will lose your tax deduction.
When it comes to vehicles and other non-cash donations, the rules get even more complicated. Read IRS Publication 526 and consult with your tax professional before making sizable non-cash donations.
Eva Rosenberg, EA is the publisher of TaxMama.com , where your tax questions are answered. Eva is the author of several books and ebooks, including the new edition of Small Business Taxes Made Easy. Eva teaches a tax pro course at IRSExams.com and tax courses you might enjoy at http://www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.