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Meghan 912
Returning Member

I donated over 60% of my AGI in 2019, and I had a low income. Will it trigger an audit if I take deductions?

I donated a large amount to my mom's religious organizations in 2019 because she had a serious illness. My AGI was low in 2019 (around $23k), and my charitable contribution was over 60% of that. If I deduct that, will that trigger an audit?

 

Should I avoid taking the charitable deduction because the large amount could trigger an audit, since my income was low?

 

Is an audit really that bad? I have supporting documents for pretty much everything. But it still sounds like a huge hassle.  It says people in my income range are more likely to be audited, about .69%. That's unlikely, but still more likely than other ranges.

 

Also, there's a CARES rule about $300 for charitable deductions with a standard deduction. Should I use that instead to lessen the chance of getting an audit?

3 Replies
AmeliesUncle
Level 11

I donated over 60% of my AGI in 2019, and I had a low income. Will it trigger an audit if I take deductions?

Go ahead and take the deduction (but see note below).

 

In the unlikely event of an audit, all they do is ask for proof of your deductions.  That should be easy for you to provide.

 

The $300 charitable contribution thing from the CARES Act is for the 2020 tax return, not the current 2019 tax return.

 

*Note*:  Be sure the deductions qualify.  If any single one-day donation was $250 or more, you need a written acknowledgment from the charitable organization that meets certain criteria.

 

Meghan 912
Returning Member

I donated over 60% of my AGI in 2019, and I had a low income. Will it trigger an audit if I take deductions?

I didn't get written acknowledgment for most of the donations, and they were mostly over $250. But I do have proof of the checks for the donations in my online bank accounts. Is it ok to not have written acknowledgment for most of the donations right now? If I get audited, and they require written proof, can I just ask those organizations for proof at that time?

 

Also, my donations exceed 60%, the max allowable, so do they carry over to future tax returns? How is that done? Do I have to enter every organization I donated to in my 2019 taxes, even if they exceed the 60%? 

 

It says for donations of $75+, religious places don't have to give a written statement if they only provide intangible benefits:

https://www.irs.gov/publications/p526

So I don't need the written statements in my case, right? Or is that just one special case? The IRS page is confusing. 

 

There's more about needing to complete a form 8282 and appraisal if we donate over $500 and $5000 to an organization. Is that only for noncash contributions? So that  doesn't apply to me, since all my contributions are cash donations to religious organizations?

 

I need to complete my return ASAP, today if possible, and it's going to be a lot of work to impossible to get all that in by today. 

 

AmeliesUncle
Level 11

I donated over 60% of my AGI in 2019, and I had a low income. Will it trigger an audit if I take deductions?

In order to be a valid deduction, you need the written statement before you file your tax return.

 

No, you need the written statement.  That $75 exception for churches is about something else.

 

The excess amounts can be carried over to next year.  So if there may be a chance you can use them next year, enter them all.

 

Form 8282 is only for noncash donations.  That form does not apply to cash donations (which includes payments by checks or credit card).

 

 

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