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Is an annual contribution receipt required by law?

by jes

I understand that it is a good idea for members to receive a giving receipt at the end of the year for their cash donations, but our newly started church doesn't have the office manpower to issue contribution receipts to over 200 people. We are just starting out and our office/computers aren't updated yet. It would take hundreds of hours to issue itemized receipts to 200 people.

Would it be ok, by IRS law, if we announced to the congregation that if anyone needed an annual receipt then we would issue them one, and those who do not ask for one will not receive a receipt (but just keep them on file for our own records)?

Also, when giving these annual receipts, do they HAVE to be itemized or can they just be the total sum given for the year for each contributor?

Thanks for any input on this in advance!

Vickey> I'm praying for you and your husband too!

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Comments for Is an annual contribution receipt required by law?

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Nov 23, 2010
by: Anonymous


our church is stiil small memebers we are only 20 regular memeber but not all are giving their offering and tithes. we have a 400 can. dollars for 1 mo. and the giver are asking their reciept for their tax refund. can the church issue them a reciept? and our church has no charity no. yet what shall we do? in order the giver will have their reciept for ther tax refund please help me what to. thanks and hope you will help me. God bless

Dec 07, 2010
Are Donation Receipts Required?
by: Vickey

According to the IRS Pub 1771:

The donor is responsible for obtaining a written acknowledgment from a charity for any single contribution of $250 or more before the donor can claim a charitable contribution on his/her federal income tax return.

So it would be okay by IRS law, to announce to your congregation that if anyone needed an annual receipt then you would issue them one, and those who do not ask for one will not receive a receipt (but just keep them on file for your own records).

However, the IRS does require you to provide a written disclosure to a donor who receives goods or services in exchange for a single payment in excess of $75. Click on the above link to download the complete IRS publication on this matter.

I always attach an itemized list to the annual contribution statements I send out; however, you could just itemize contributions over $250...the rest could be lumped together.

Thank you for the prayer. It is very much appreciated :-)

Dec 07, 2010
Canadian Charity Regulations
by: Vickey

I am assuming the Anonymous poster is from Canada.

I am not familiar enough with Canadian Charity laws to answer your question, but I can refer you to a site that may be able to answer your question. It is Church Treasurers of Canada:

You may also be able to find answers on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website:

Dec 29, 2010
A small church approach
by: Chuck Reeder

This won't help a lot for 2010, but might help others in getting organized for 2011. As the treasurer of a church that runs about 125 per Sunday (and those who donate by check are a smaller number) I made a blank form to track donations. It has a place for the donor's name and address at the top and a table containing dates for each Sunday for a year, with some empty cells between each Sunday (in case we have any special offerings, etc). At the bottom I include that IRS phrase about "no goods or services were received except for intangble religious benefits". The people who tally the offerings simply use these log sheets to note the donations (whether they are $250 or not). After the end of the year, we provide the donors with a copy. Fairly simple approach and no computer system is required.

Feb 19, 2011
Agreed with over $250.00
by: Anonymous

Think growth! It would be a great idea to invest in software such as Servant Keeper or as one person said a spread sheet that keeps track of donations. This will make it much easier at the end of the year to print out statements. If you are using Servant Keeper then you can pull up anyone with a donation over $250 and print a statement. I think it is always a good idea to give a receipt to people who give over $250.00
Again if you invest in a software and a decent computer it will be worth it in the future and less of a headache. I know that funds are not always readily available in a church so hopefully this is something that you are able to do.

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