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davz911
New Member

davz911

I volenteer at my church as a handy man. I have spend a lot of my own money on repair and maintenance materials thru the year. I have many receipts, do I have to enter each one individully , do I need any documentation from the church, or are the receipts good enough for an IRS audit.

5 Replies
MayaD
Expert Alumni

davz911

The substantiation requirements for deducting unreimbursed volunteer expenses depends on the amount of the expenses.

If expenses are $250 or more, you must get an acknowledgment from the church that contains:

  • a description of the services provided
  • a statement of whether or not the charity provided you any goods or services to reimburse the volunteer for the expenses incurred
  • a description and a good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services (other than intangible religious benefits) provided to reimburse the volunteer, or
  • a statement that the only benefit the volunteer received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case; the acknowledgment does not need to describe or estimate the value of an intangible religious benefit.

List your receipt individually if the total is more than $250.

If the expenses are less than $250, You don't need any document from the church. You just need to keep a good record in case you get audited.

 

To report your charitable unreimbursed expenses:

  1. Login to your account.
  2. Select Federal from the left menu.
  3. Go to Deductions and Credits.
  4. Scroll down to Charitable Donations.
  5. Select start next to Donations to charity in 2020
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Opus 17
Level 15

davz911

I disagree with the expert here.

First on the issue of documentation that you must have. If you are audited, you are required to prove all the deductions that you claim. While the church may not be required to issue a statement except for donations of more than $250, you would be well advised to have some kind of letter or acknowledgment from the church thanking you for your services.  The church’s letter does not have to specify the dollar value, you will do that with your receipts.  However, if audited, you will want to have something to show the IRS that the receipts that you are showing them were actually spent on church repairs and not your own your own household repairs.  In other words, you are required to have a receipt for every donation that you claim, even though the regulations do not require the church to issue a receipt for small donations.

 

Second, on the issue of reporting, I disagree that $250 is the threshold where you need to list individual items.  You will list these as item donations, and you can use the purchase price as the fair market value and you can select “purchase price“ as the method of determining fair market value.  When donating non-cash items to a charity, you must file form 8283 if the total of your non-cash donations is more than $500. TurboTax will prepare this form automatically. But even form 8283 does not require an itemized list of every nut and screw. If you listed the items as “church maintenance supplies“ or “church repair supplies“, that would certainly be sufficient.  (Similarly, if you donated used clothing to Goodwill, you would not have to list every individual shirt on form 8283, you could list the donation as “used clothing”.  And in fact, if you use the It’sDeductible module in TurboTax to value your Goodwill donations, and they are more than $500, TurboTax will group the entire donation on one line of form 8283.). If the donation value is less than $500, only the final total is reported to the IRS.  You should certainly have an itemize list with receipts to keep in your financial records for at least three years in case of audit.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
daa
Level 3

davz911

hi, in tt home & bus desktop, there is not an option to select purchase price for Method to Determine Fair Market Value, for donation of brand new clothes & items, am i to select present value? other option i thought may apply is replacement cost new..? thank you in advance for your help!

Opus 17
Level 15

davz911

@daa 

interesting, I didn’t use that section this year so I didn’t notice the change. I think “present value“ is the better option of the ones you mentioned.

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
daa
Level 3

davz911

thank you!

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