Lack of Substantiation and Not Getting Acknowledgement Proper Blows Big Charitable Deduction

The petitioner's mother died and his father asked the petitioner to get all of the personal effects out of the house.  The petitioner did so and donated the items to charity along with some clothing items belonging to himself and his children.  He also donated various electronic equipment to the same charity.  The charity (a qualified charity) gave the petitioner blank tax receipts signed by "Jose" and "Amado."  The taxpayer filled in the amount of the donations and claimed $27,767 in non-cash charitable contributions on his return for the year at issue.  The petitioner claimed that he used Salvation Army guidelines for valuing the donated items, but many of the items he actually valued at amounts exceeding the high-end range of the guidelines for that property.  The court noted that the tax receipts did not contain a description of any of the property and were actually signed before the property was donated.  The court determined that the substantiation requirements had not been satisfied.  The petitioner also never showed his spreadsheet calculations of value to the charity for review.  The court determined that the petitioner had failed the "contemporaneous written acknowledgement" requirement for gifts over $250.00.  The court also imposed a 20 percent accuracy-related penalty.  Smith v. Comr.,  T.C. Memo. 2014-203.

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