Bad Tax Idea: No receipts or cash only for charitable contributions.
Good Idea: Effective 2007, actually late in 2006 if one wants to be exact; the IRS decreed that in order to claim contributions for charity.
If you make weekly contributions to your church, synagogue or mosque, please make sure that you do it by check instead of coins in the collection plates. The IRS wants to see a track record of the donations – and you should too. Don’t be afraid to donate non-cash items – just make sure that you get them appraised and insure that you get a letter from the charity saying what purpose they are using the items for. The appraiser, by the way, needs to be an expert in his or her field and can’t arbitrarily say that the old bag of shoes you donated were worth $1000, unless of course, you had $2000 of gold inlay in the heels of the soles….
I find that a lot of my clients only have to go through this once and they tend to stick to contributions by writing a check or direct debit on their accounts.