June 25, 2024

Non-Cash Charitable Contributions: Insights from a Recent Tax Court Case

Non-cash charitable contributions can be a valuable way to support causes you care about while also receiving tax benefits. However, the rules surrounding these contributions are complex, and failure to comply with IRS requirements can lead to disallowed deductions. A recent tax court case highlights the importance of understanding and adhering to these regulations.

In this case, a taxpayer’s non-cash charitable contribution was disallowed due to inadequate documentation and valuation issues. The court emphasized the necessity of obtaining a qualified appraisal for non-cash contributions exceeding $5,000. This appraisal must be attached to the tax return and include a detailed description of the donated property, the method of valuation, and the qualifications of the appraiser.

Key Takeaways from the Tax Court Case

1. Qualified Appraisal Requirement For non-cash contributions over $5,000, the IRS requires a qualified appraisal. This appraisal must be conducted by a qualified appraiser and attached to your tax return. In the recent court case, the taxpayer failed to provide a proper appraisal, leading to the disallowance of the deduction.

2. Detailed Documentation Proper documentation is critical for substantiating non-cash contributions. This includes a written acknowledgment from the charity, describing the property and stating whether any goods or services were received in exchange. The acknowledgment must be received by the taxpayer before the tax return is filed. The taxpayer in the case failed to provide adequate documentation, which contributed to the denial of the deduction.

3. Timeliness of Documentation The IRS requires that all necessary documentation be in the taxpayer’s possession by the time the tax return is filed. In the court case, the taxpayer attempted to provide additional documentation during the audit, but this was not accepted because it was not obtained in a timely manner.

Steps to Ensure Compliance with IRS Rules

1. Obtain a Qualified Appraisal If you are donating non-cash property worth more than $5,000, ensure that you get a qualified appraisal. The appraiser must meet specific qualifications and provide a detailed report. Attach this appraisal to your tax return.

2. Keep Detailed Records Maintain comprehensive records of your non-cash contributions. This includes the written acknowledgment from the charity, a detailed description of the donated property, the date and location of the contribution, and the fair market value of the property at the time of donation.

3. File Documentation on Time Ensure that all documentation, including the appraisal and the charity’s acknowledgment, is received before you file your tax return. This documentation must be in your possession and submitted with your return to avoid issues during an audit.

4. Consult with a Tax Professional Given the complexities of non-cash charitable contributions, consulting with a tax professional is advisable. They can help ensure that all requirements are met and that your contributions are properly documented and valued.


Non-cash charitable contributions can provide significant tax benefits, but it is crucial to comply with IRS regulations to ensure your deductions are allowed. The recent tax court case underscores the importance of obtaining a qualified appraisal, keeping detailed records, and ensuring timely documentation. By following these guidelines and consulting with a tax professional, you can maximize your charitable contributions while remaining compliant with tax laws.

At Propono, we specialize in helping taxpayers navigate complex tax situations, including non-cash charitable contributions. If you need assistance with your charitable deductions or any other tax-related issues, contact us today for expert guidance and support. Visit our website at www.propono.tax and schedule a consultation at Propono Consultation.

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