There is a story I heard even before I started doing tax work when I was a hotel night auditor. It was about a guy named Joe who ran a luncheonette where he also sold newspapers and candy bars and the like. Joe’s Place was across the street from Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, a Catholic parish. Joe would see Father Mulcahey carrying a heavy bag every Monday morning. The good father was heading to the bank with the Sunday collection.
One day Joe invited him in for a cup of coffee and proposed a win/win. Joe was always running out of change on Sundays. So how about if Father Mulcahey has the ushers count the coins and bring them over, Joe would write a check for the coins, and the father will just have Joe’s check to bring to the bank on Monday? Then, Joe would deduct the check written to the church as a charitable deduction. It was a great plan and it worked well for several years until the IRS audited Joe and a skeptical IRS agent called on Father Mulcahey about Joe apparently being Our Lady’s biggest donor. After all, he had the canceled checks.
So if a canceled check to church on Sunday won’t work to document your charitable deduction, what will? Keep reading to find out!