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If I have receipts for Goodwill donations totaling less than $5,000, do I also need a letter from Goodwill?

It depends. The kind of records you must keep depends on the amount of your contributions and whether they are:

  • Cash contributions
  • Noncash contributions
  • Out-of-pocket expenses when donating your services

An organization usually must give you a written statement if you donate more than $75.

Cash contributions

Cash contributions are those paid by:

  • Check
  • Electronic funds transfer
  • Debit or credit card
  • Payroll deduction

If you make a cash contribution, you must have one of these:

  • A bank record that shows:
    • Name of the qualified organization
    • Date of the contribution
    • Amount of the contribution
  • A receipt or letter from the qualified organization showing:
    • Name of the organization
    • Date of the contribution
    • Amount of the contribution
  • Payroll deduction records -- These can include a pay stub, your W-2, or another document from your employer.

Noncash contributions

For contributions not made in cash, the records you must keep depend on:

  • The type of contribution
  • The amount of your contribution

To deduct a noncash contribution in any amount, you’ll need to get and keep a receipt, letter, or other communication from the charitable organization showing:

  • The name of the qualified organization
  • The date and location of the charitable contribution
  • A reasonably detailed description of the property

You must also keep reliable written records that include:

  • The name and address of the organization to which you contributed
  • The date and location of the contribution
  • A description of the property in detail reasonable under the circumstances
  • The fair market value (FMV) of the property at the time of the contribution and how you figured the FMV. If it was determined by appraisal, you should also keep a copy of the signed appraisal.
  • The cost or other basis of the property
  • The terms of any conditions attached to the contribution of property

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