Know and follow the rules for claiming charitable deductions, or risk the consequences

Two recent United States Tax Court (the Tax Court) opinions — David P. Durden v. Commissioner et ux., TC Memo 2012-140 and Joseph Mohamed, Sr., et ux. v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2012-152 — reinforce the importance of knowing and following the rules for claiming charitable deductions on your tax returns. The facts in both cases involved bona fide contributions to bona fide charitable recipients. Neither the Internal Revenue Service nor the Tax Court questioned the validity of the contributions or the recipients. Instead, in each case, the Tax Court held that the taxpayer failed to follow the rules that require appropriate supporting documentation for the charitable contributions being made. In each case, due to such failure, the Tax Court was required to reach a harsh result — total denial of the deductions for otherwise valid charitable contributions.

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