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I hope it is ok to ask tax questions here? I have all my bank statements from last year. So, I calculated all the money I gave to churches I attended and was planning to write that off. Can I do this write off just on the basis of those checks on bank statements?

TIA
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KingJr,

I have all my bank statements from last year. So, I calculated all the money I gave to churches I attended and was planning to write that off. Can I do this write off just on the basis of those checks on bank statements?

Just a clarification -- it seems that you do not have cancelled checks, just:

(1) your check register, showing the check numbers, payees, dates and amounts, and

(2) bank statements showing the check numbers, dates and amounts.

Is that correct?

And is it also correct that you have no letters/statements from any churches, confirming the amounts of your contributions?

Just asking -- the experts may need some of this info in order to give you a definitive answer ...
Phooley
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<< I have all my bank statements from last year. So, I calculated all the money I gave to churches I attended and was planning to write that off. Can I do this write off just on the basis of those checks on bank statements? >>

1. You can deduct church contributions if you itemize deductions on Schedule A. (If you don't itemize on Federal but have a state income tax, check the instructions. Some may allow a deduction even if you don't itemize, but only for state purposes.)

2. If any single donation is $250 or more, you have to have a receipt from the recipient before you file your return.

3. You don't have to have cancelled checks. Your register and statements are sufficient, and if you HAD to have the checks, you could get them later.

Phil Marti
Tax Preparer
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My Bankstatment has copies of all the checks for that month on several pages. They show the front of the check, but not the back. The problem of getting a letter from a church is a lot of the churches I was visiting, so my name isn't on the roll. And from the way some of them talk if you don't fill out the info on the tithe envelope completely they probably don't track what you gave. I gave about $5,500 to church last year and I was planning to write it all off. But, I can live without writing if off, but it would be nice.
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KingJr writes (in part):

I gave about $5,500 to church last year and I was planning to write it all off. But, I can live without writing if off, but it would be nice.

I reply:

If you gave the money in chunks of less than $250.00, you're fine. You only need a letter from the donee for any individual gift that was at least that amount. And for what it's worth, if an organization can't be bothered to track donations of that size or to provide necessary tax documentation, it wouldn't get any more of my money. --Bob
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KingJr,

I hope my attempt to address your question didn't throw you off -- just be sure you see Phil's response for the straight scoop: http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1040014008538002 --

Phooley
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<< The problem of getting a letter from a church is a lot of the churches I was visiting, so my name isn't on the roll. And from the way some of them talk if you don't fill out the info on the tithe envelope completely they probably don't track what you gave. >>

Even if they weren't tracking your contributions, they can give you a receipt if you show them the checks. (Again, this is a concern only for individual contributions of $250 or more.) It's definitely worth your while to take the time to get the receipts.

I had the same problem since I moved last year and wasn't in my new church's tracking system. It took all of 5 minutes with the financial administrator to get receipts.

Phil Marti
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