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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/Substantiating a non-cash charitable donation



The IRS's guidelines for recordkeeping for charitable contributions are very confusing, and I'm not sure which apply to my case.  Last year, I made a single non-cash contribution to Goodwill of about $1000 worth of miscellaneous items (mostly clothing, of all different types).  What "level" of proof am I going to need to substantiate this?  Depending on how I read the IRS's instructions, sometimes it sounds like I just need a simple receipt with the date and a vague description (like "clothing and household goods"), and sometimes it seems like I need a detailed description of everything I donated on Goodwill letterhead.  I'd be so grateful for any help you can provide!


Thanks for your question.

The way it works in practice is that you attach a detailed listing to the receipt provided by the organization - 12 men's dress shirts, 3 handbags, etc.  you don't need to include the receipt or listing with your return, but have it available in the event you are questioned.

Hope this helps.

John Stancil, CPA  

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John Stancil, CPA


I can answer questions on personal income taxes, partnerships, and some corporate income taxes. I can deal with some state tax questions. Limited gift and estate tax questions. I am also familiar with ministerial and church tax reporting issues. I am Professor Emeritus at Florida Southern College. Sales taxes and property taxes are state and local issues so I am not likely be be able to give you an in depth answer on those types of taxes. I have maintained a CPA practice, specializing in tax, for over 35 years. I am a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals, The Florida Insititute of CPA's, The NCPE Fellowship. In addition I am a Certified Mentor for SCORE. Visit my website at I also offer seminars and consultations to churches and clergy on their tax issues at Also visit my blog, I am listed on Tax Connections at Prepare and file your own taxes at


I hold a doctorate in Accounting, and am a CPA. My certifications of CIA, CFM, and CMA are inactive. I passed all certification examinations on the first attempt, and received honorable mention for my scores on the CIA exam. I have operated a CPA firm for over 37 years and have taught accounting and tax at the college level for over 35 years.

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DBA University of Memphis MBA University of Georgia BS in Accounting Mars Hill University

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