Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Write down those check numbers

As I wrote about a few weeks ago, there have been some significant changes for the rules about what documentation you must have for 2007 tax deductions to charities. Because of these rules, we have over $100 in tax deductions we will miss because we don't know the check number and we did not receive a receipt in the mail for the charity or because we know the check number but the small amount of the check does not warrant the $1 charge our bank charges per official copy of the check. Each of the amounts we did not get back were checks given to a friend raising money for a trip or for a charity. One friend's children whose father died of cancer in 2006 decided to raise money for St. Jude's. We sent them a check which was made out to St. Jude's...but did not receive a receipt and can't find the check number :-( Another friend was going on a mission trip to a foreign country through a local church. We made the check out to Providence, one of the largest churches in the area, but haven't seen a receipt from them either. There are a couple of other examples, but clearly this is our fault for not tracking check numbers early in the year. All total, we needed about 7 canceled checks but ended up only getting two of them.

While this sounds like a complaint, I did intend this to be informational for people to learn from our mistake. If your bank is like our credit union and does not make canceled checks viewable online (Bank of America makes the checks viewable online for free) or sends you canceled checks, make sure you record the check number of every contribution you make next year. If its a $250 or larger contribution, you have to have a receipt from the charity anyway. But if its smaller, write down the check number now and plan on getting that canceled check.

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