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You write and date the check for the donation on 12/31/10. It gets cashed on 1/4/11. It's deductible in 2010, not 2011, right?

--fleg
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You write and date the check for the donation on 12/31/10. It gets cashed on 1/4/11. It's deductible in 2010, not 2011, right?

If you contribute money to the tax-deductable organization for which I am treasurer, most of the time it is easy, and I use the date on your check.

However, if I get a check dated December 31, 2010, but it is not postmarked until January 15, 2011, I credit it to you in 2011, and my thank-you note calls it a 2011 contribution. So far, this has happened only once, and I do not know what the contributor wrote on his tax return.
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You write and date the check for the donation on 12/31/10. It gets cashed on 1/4/11. It's deductible in 2010, not 2011, right?

Not enough information - when was it mailed / given to the charity?

If it leaves your possession/control on 12/31/10 it's 2010.
If it leaves your possession/control on 1/1/11 it's 2011.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=251223,00.html
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You write and date the check for the donation on 12/31/10. It gets cashed on 1/4/11. It's deductible in 2010, not 2011, right?

Not enough information - when was it mailed / given to the charity?


I'm afraid that's all the information you're going to get.<g> Remembering when a check was dropped in the mail over a year ago is quite beyond the capabilities of either DW or myself.

--fleg
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I'm afraid that's all the information you're going to get.<g> Remembering when a check was dropped in the mail over a year ago is quite beyond the capabilities of either DW or myself.

Well, lets take a different approach - did you claim it on 2010 taxes? If you did, then probably you remembered sending it out on 12/31/10 when you prepared your taxes 8-12 months ago.
If not, assume you put it in the mailbox on 1/1/11 or later.
Whichever way you choose it's not like the IRS can prove you're wrong, and probably doesn't make a significant difference in the end to the IRS anyhow.
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Fleg, in looking at the 2010 and 2011 calendars, it looks like you mailed the check on Dec. 31, 2010. The charity received it 1/3/11 and deposited it on 1/4/11. It looks like it would be safe for you to claim it for the 2010 taxes. December 31, 2010 was on a Friday, January 1, 2011 (a postal holiday) was on Saturday.

Donna
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it looks like you mailed the check on Dec. 31, 2010. The charity received it 1/3/11 and deposited it on 1/4/11. It looks like it would be safe for you to claim it for the 2010 taxes. December 31, 2010 was on a Friday, January 1, 2011 (a postal holiday) was on Saturday.

Didn't you mean that it would be safe to claim it for the 2011 taxes?

I checked 2010 and found that we did not claim it for that year. And it's entirely possible that the check wasn't even mailed the day it was written. So I'm going with 2011. Thanks to all who responded.

--fleg
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Donna: it looks like you mailed the check on Dec. 31, 2010. The charity received it 1/3/11 and deposited it on 1/4/11. It looks like it would be safe for you to claim it for the 2010 taxes. December 31, 2010 was on a Friday, January 1, 2011 (a postal holiday) was on Saturday.
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Fleg: Didn't you mean that it would be safe to claim it for the 2011 taxes?

I checked 2010 and found that we did not claim it for that year. And it's entirely possible that the check wasn't even mailed the day it was written. So I'm going with 2011. Thanks to all who responded.

--fleg

Your orginal question was:

You write and date the check for the donation on 12/31/10. It gets cashed on 1/4/11. It's deductible in 2010, not 2011, right?

--fleg


To me it looked like you took the donation in 2010 and then found the check wasn't cashed until 2011, so were concerned about the deduction taken last year. (I think most posters thought the same way.)

Donna's answer was correct, for the information you gave.

That said, there is nothing wrong, IMHO, with taking the deduction in 2011, since you didn't take it in 2010.

Not meaning to be testy, but if you had said you didn't take it last year in the OP it would have been easier to answer your question.

Jean
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Not meaning to be testy, but if you had said you didn't take it last year in the OP it would have been easier to answer your question.

I thought that by asking in what year it should be taken, I was implying that I hadn't taken it in either. But I see what you're saying -- it didn't come across clearly.

--fleg
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I forget when it was, but before that, a charity had to send you a receipt that included the date of the gift, and the portion that was tax deductable for each gift $250 or more. Now, I believe it is for all gifts. Now how the charity ascertains that date, I do not know. I know how I do it. I do not wait until I deposit the check, and I do not wait until the check clears. It is usually the date on the check, or at the border between one year and the next, the postmark on the envelope. If you put it in the mail new year's eve, I cannot tell if you mailed it December 31, January 1, January 2, or whenever the first business day that the post office observes. So do not wait until the last minute if it matters to you.
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I forget when it was, but before that, a charity had to send you a receipt that included the date of the gift, and the portion that was tax deductable for each gift $250 or more. Now, I believe it is for all gifts.

I think it is still only $250 or more unless it changes for 2012. Speaking as treasurer of a couple qualifying non-for-profits I'll tell you I would begin discouraging many of our small donors if I had to send confirmation on all of them. I don't think even Congress is stupid enough to require written confirmation beyond the donor's cancelled check for a $5 donation .
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I think it is still only $250 or more unless it changes for 2012.

http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96102,00.html


There is one exception:
A charitable organization must provide a written disclosure statement to donors of a quid pro quo contribution in excess of $75.
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It was for only $100. The bank statement shows it being cashed on 1/4. It went to a local charity so it could have been put in a mailbox any time between 12/31 and early on 1/3. We didn't deduct it in 2010 so, based on responses on this board, we're deducting it in 2011.

--fleg
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