07 April 2016

You Need Your Receipt!

Posted in Giving

You need a receipt - Money reVerse

By being obedient to the Christian call to give to the building of God’s kingdom, to assist the poor and to help those that cannot help themselves, we cannot escape being givers. Being a giver satisfies that internal mandate to assist while also honoring biblical scripture.

The Internal Revenue Service honors us when we give to charity and religious organizations by giving us a dollar for dollar tax deduction for every gift that we give. To get this tax deduction for our gifts, we must be aware and compliant to the IRS written acknowledgement guidelines for charitable deductions.

According to IRS Publication 1771, as a donor we cannot claim a tax deduction for any single contribution of $250 or more without a written acknowledgement of the gift from the receiving organization given in the same time period. An annual statement from the church or organization given within the same tax time period satisfies this request.

Over the years I’ve had cases in which I’ve given a gift of $250 or more to a church that I’ve visited but I did not get a written acknowledgement of it.

As the tax payer, it is my responsibility to ensure that I have the the proper receipts before I include any deduction on my tax return. Non-profit organizations are responsible for issuing receipts and acknowledgement but there is no penalty assigned to an organization that does not provide required document to their donors. It is important that you personally track your giving and request any missing written acknowledgements before you file your tax return. Over the years I’ve found that many larger churches have this process automated where understandably, small churches do not. I’ve followed-up with smaller churches to request the required paperwork to claim the gift as a tax deduction. There’s never a problem in getting the receipts, it’s just an added step that I must take.

There are no IRS forms for churches and charities to use in providing donor written acknowledgements. A letter written by a leader in the organization on their letterhead is sufficient. It also is not necessary to have the donor’s social security number or tax ID number on the receipt. For more information on when your social security number is required and when it is not, read Protecting Your SSN.

When you get your receipt from the church or charity, in addition to being addressed to you, ensure that it includes the following 6 elements:

1. The name of the organization.
2. The amount of the cash contribution.
3. A description (but not the value) of a non-cash contribution.
4. A statement that no goods or services were provided by the organization in return for the contribution, if that was the case.
5. A description and good faith estimate of the value of goods or services, if any, that an organization provided in return for the contribution.
6. A statement that goods or services, if any, that an organization provided in return for the contribution consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits, if that was the case.

Charitable contributions are the only thing that gives us a dollar deduction against our tax bill for every dollar that we give. Don’t miss out on any charitable contribution deductions when you file your IRS tax return!

For additional information on charitable contributions substantiation and disclosure requirements see the IRS publication 1771.


06 May 2014

Should you give to the building of God's kingdom or save money? #FinLit

Posted in Giving

The answer is Yes! Do both - Give and Save!

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’.

Acts 20:35 KJV

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

Proverbs 21:20 KJV

You are reading this correctly. Giving and saving is a single best step that we should take in preparation for expanding our financial territory. This is not an oxymoron - as the biblical scriptures show, we are expected to give and save.

Money Falling

The principle to be gleaned here is that we should purposely take resources that we could use to sustain ourselves and make a conscious effort to give to the building of God’s kingdom, give to the poor and give to take care of family while also setting aside a portion in our house for later. This is stewardship sacrifice.

Here's Christian biblical scripture that reference these financial practices.


Giving to the building of God's kingdom...

"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it."
Malachi 3:10 NKJV

Giving to the poor...

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
Isaiah 58:7-9 NKJV

Taking care of your family...

But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV

There is wisdom in saving...
MDA Sticker

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

Proverbs 21:20 KJV

We’re pleasing to the Lord when we put His financial principles into action. How do you do this? Here’s three practical starting points:

  • Tithe (giving 10% of your increase) and give offerings to building of God’s Kingdom
  • Give to the poor through an avenue that touches your heart. This can be though a charity or by helping someone on the street. God knows your heart and counts every act of giving even if the IRS does not.
  • Save a portion of your increase each month. Save for those unplanned expenses that we know will surface. There’s no such thing as saving too little unless you’re not saving at all! Include this in your spending plan so that you can track it and hold yourself accountable.

Principles for managing financial resources in the Christian Holy Bible are designed for our best interests today, tomorrow and in eternity. I'm asking you, are you giving and saving?

I am!!