Saturday, January 06, 2007

IRS: 2007 charitable contributions need proof

National Public Radio reports that, "The IRS will begin requiring documentation to deduct cash donations of any amount next year [2007]. That means church-goers who put cash in collection baskets may have to switch to checks if they want to claim it on their taxes. "

The same will apply to monthly cash donations by United Methodist Women sub-unit members to special projects, donations through Sunday School classes, and similar donations that most people have done by cash in the past.

Perhaps this is a good opportunity for churches seeking to assist members to offer an automatic withdrawal from checking accounts and/or credit card donations capability. An alternative would be to offer giving envelopes to all, letting the giver write their name plus their address on the outside and then the church providing all such people with donation receipts at the end of the year.

As for Sunday School classes and the like, the treasurer will have to make detailed receipts for each member or else members will have to write checks. Bummer.

The automatic withdrawal from checking accounts is relatively easy. It also might be a good way to ease the summer problem of dropping contributions as people are out of town on vacations. Some people just forget to "catch up". Automatic withdrawal eases that problem and helps members meet their pledged amount.

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