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Charity Donations Records

My girlfriend and I make monthly charity donations using my credit card. She handles the administration of them through online accounts that she has set up and that are in her name, so when the charities issue receipts, they are also in her name. But the charges are on my card, and I take the deduction. (I generally itemize deductions while she does not.) The amounts of these donations are sizeable: in the thousands per month. If there were to be an inquiry/audit by either the IRS or the state, would the fact that the receipts are in her name and don't show the credit card number on them be problematic in proving I paid the donations from my card? I do have credit card receipts of course. TY.

4 Replies

Charity Donations Records

one the one hand, this isn't a problem but on the other it may create a problem.


The IRS publication states: (page 19 on the left)




You can't deduct a cash contribution, regardless of the amount, unless you keep one of the following.
1. A bank record that shows the name of the qualified organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution. Bank records may include:
a. A canceled check.
b. A bank or credit union statement.
c. A credit card statement.
d. An electronic fund transfer receipt.
e. A scanned image of both sides of a canceled check obtained from a bank or credit union website.
2. A receipt (or a letter or other written communication such as an email) from the qualified organization showing the name of the organization, the date of the contribution, and the amount of the contribution


So, you do satisfy #1 since you have credit card receipts.  Since the rule is satisfy "one", you technically do not need a receipt from the qualifiied organization showing YOUR contribution. 


However, your girlfriend might run into a different issue, depending on how much she is giving you to donate.  You do not state how much your girlfriend is giving you, but if it exceeds $17,000 in 2023, she has a gift tax reporting requirement as it sounds like she is gifting this money to you and then you turn around and donate it.  If her gifts to you exceed $17,000, there is no tax to pay , but there is a reporting requirement to the IRS.  In 2022, I think the reporting requirement kicked in at $16,000.

Level 15
Level 15

Charity Donations Records

NCperson gave you only part of the story. If you read a little further in Publication 526 you see that for any contribution of $250 or more you must have "a contemporaneous written acknowledgment of your contribution from the qualified organization." In other words, a receipt from the charity. It goes without saying that the receipt from the charity has to be issued to you. A receipt issued to someone else is not going to be acceptable to substantiate your deduction. You are definitely asking for trouble by doing what you are doing. The IRS is very tough about substantiation for charitable donations. If you are audited, your deductions will be disallowed. You need straightforward substantiation that meets all the IRS requirements, without any complicated or strained explanations. It's too late to do anything about contributions you have already made, but start making the contributions in your own name if you are going to deduct them.


Charity Donations Records

why are you doing it this way? why not set up the accounts in your name and then either you or her could make the donations to those accounts. this does not eliminate the gift tax issue, but it does eliminate the income tax issue. 

Charity Donations Records

This is going to be high risk, in the unlikely event you are audited.  The CC receipt is in your name but the charity acknowledgement is in someone else's name.


The main reason for the charity to issue an acknowledgement is to confirm the money was a charitable gift and not the purchase of some tangible benefit.  (For example, if you pay $500 for a charity dinner, of which the fair market value of the fancy dinner is $200, the charity must issue a receipt that the value of your donation is $300.  Or if you buy artwork at a charity auction and pay $3000, but the fair market value of the artwork is $2500, your donation is $500.)  The purpose of the acknowledgment is to verify that the money reported on the credit card receipt is actually a donation.


Given the above, I would like to think that an auditor would give more weight to your CC receipt than the acknowledgement.  However, this situation is definitely an audit risk, and I would suggest you open your own accounts so you get the acknowledgements in your own name. 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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