Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Contribution Acceptance Policy
Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code authorizes deductions for charitable contributions. To be deductible, a contribution must meet certain conditions. Ordinarily, a contribution is made at the time of delivery. For example, a check that is mailed to the church is considered delivered on the date it is mailed. Contributions can only be claimed in the year in which the contribution is made. To be included in a given year’s contribution record, a donation must be received on or before December 31 or mailed with a postmark no later than December 31. No deduction as a charitable contribution is allowed for the value of labor or services donated to Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
A charitable contribution is a gift of money to a charitable organization. As such it must be unconditional so that the donor receives no direct and material benefit for the contribution. The contribution must be made with “no strings attached.” Contributions must be made to and for the use of a qualified organization. Contributions made directly to individuals and “run through the church” are not deductible. Contributions made for the use of an organization are often made payable to the church with a request that the funds be distributed to a specified individual. In this case, the church has control of the funds so the contribution would be deductible.
Deductible contributions must also be properly substantiated. Donors cannot deduct a cash contribution, regardless of the amount, unless they keep a bank record of the transaction or written communication from the church.
Donors must substantiate individual cash contributions of $250 or more “by a contemporaneous written acknowledgment” of the contribution by the church. Donors cannot substantiate individual cash contributions of $250 or more with canceled checks. For a written acknowledgment to be considered contemporaneous with the contribution, a donor must receive the acknowledgment by the earlier of the date on which the donor actually files his or her individual federal income tax return for the year of the contribution, or the due date (including extensions) of the return.
*Cumberland Presbyterian Church is not in a position to suggest or give tax advice concerning contributions to the church. Donors should consult their accountant or attorney for advice related to contributions.