What Is Goodwill Car Donation Money Used For?

Curious about what Goodwill car donation money is used for?  When a person donates a vehicle to charity, the charity will usually turn around and sell the vehicle at auction.  Once sold, the charity takes the proceeds from the sale.  But what happens then?  Where does the money go?  How and who does it help?  These are all important questions to ask before deciding upon a charity to receive your vehicle donation.

Once the charity has received a vehicle, the process of turning that vehicle into cash is a relatively simple and straightforward one.  Upon arrival, the vehicle is given a good look-over by the mechanic and then is cleaned thoroughly.  A date is then set for the car to be auctioned off.  Most charities that participate in these vehicle auctions hold their auctions either every week or every two weeks.  Therefore, if you were to donate a vehicle at the beginning of the week, it is very likely that it could be sold at auction that following weekend.   Finally, when the vehicle is sold at auction, the proceeds are given to the selected charity.

The objective for this money, and all fundraising efforts of non-profits, is to continue the mission of the charity.  In Goodwill’s case, it would be to enhance the quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity through different services like employment and training programs.

I know what you’re thinking.  “All that sounds nice, but where do the dollars from the sale of my car actually go?”  Well, to all sorts of destinations in reality.  The fundraising money can go to pay for the logistics of the charity’s different programs, such as transporting volunteers to a site or purchasing materials for the beneficiaries of an employment training program.  Sometimes the money is used to pay for staffing and administration costs, such as the office’s rent and utilities or computers for employees.  And still other times the money is used to pay third-party companies that the charity outsources to do different jobs, such as web design, marketing, fundraising or event planning.

If you’re interested in looking at real figures on how charities are spending the money that comes in through fundraising efforts, there are a number of charity watchdog agencies out there committed to providing that information to the public.  In addition, the Better Business Bureau has great resources on charity accountability standards.  For example, one of the BBB’s standards states charities should try to shoot for 35% or less of all money coming in that is to be used for administrative costs.  Therefore, if you’re doing research on a charity and you see that the percentage of the money going to administrative costs is 75, you know to donate your vehicle elsewhere.

So now you know how Goodwill car donation money can be distributed.

Donating Your Car to Charity: Make It Easy

There are many different reasons to donate your car to a charity of your choice. If you have a vehicle that you rarely use anymore, takes up space in your garage, and you no longer want, it may be the perfect time to donate your vehicle.

Making Donation Easy

In some cases, people interested in donating a car to a charity may not care about the tax deductions they could qualify for. It may seem more appealing to simply have the charity come to pick up the car and title and take if off your hands.

For those people, the donation process is very simple, and it can be a relief to have the vehicle out of your garage. Other people may be interested in donating their vehicle to help out a good cause and receive the tax deduction benefits that come with making a charitable contribution.

The Donation Process

Depending on how many benefits you want to earn from your contribution, your tax deduction process can differ. If you intend to maximize your benefits and your vehicle is worth more than $500, you probably intend to claim full market value to reduce your total taxes.

This can make filling out your taxes more complicated than claiming basic exemptions or simply making a cash donation.

The Itemized Deduction

Claiming full market value for a car is a very difficult process, and the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) tries to dissuade people from completing it by creating restrictions on the market value donation qualifications.

In order to best understand how your contribution affects your federal income tax statements, you need to complete an itemized deduction tax form. If you don’t understand this form – or if you are unsure how to proceed after making a donation – you can go to a professional tax firm to have them complete your taxes or hire an enrolled agent, otherwise called a tax expert, to represent you before the IRS.

Finding a Qualified Charity

Not all charities are qualified as tax exempt organization that can provide tax benefits in return for donating cash and non-cash items. The only charities that are qualified are ones that have been approved by the IRS as “exempt,” some religious organizations, and charities that are a 501(c)3 organization.

If you aren’t sure on the status of the charity that you wish to donate to, you can search the internet for the charity and the qualification should be on its website. If the organization does not have a website, the IRS has a page that has a current list of the tax exempt organizations.

Fair Market Value vs. Cash Donations

In most cases, it is rare to receive fair market value for a donated vehicle. A variety of fees and underlying expenses accompany car donations, and it is fairly common for vehicles that make their way to charitable organizations to need quite a bit of work to bring them back to life.

More often than not, charities end up scrapping the cars that come in and then take the money from the scrap to apply it to the charity’s purpose. The IRS also limits the vehicle’s worth to the value that the charity has for it.

If a car will be used for a certain period of time to carry out the charity’s needs or if the charity sells the car at a significant discount to someone as a fulfillment of the charity’s philanthropic mission, the donation is set at the value of the charity’s use for the car.

Understanding your Donation

Make sure that throughout the donation, you keep records of each and every transaction and piece of information that takes place. This will be a significant help during tax season. In addition, make sure that you take the necessary steps to correctly fill out your tax forms.

Your donation can truly make a difference in many people’s lives. There are many charities that could help many people with your vehicle donation. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of donating a vehicle, you can do a private sale and simply donate that cash.

Cash donations are much easier to handle on tax forms than vehicle donations, and it is up to you how you want to proceed. Just remember, any donation that you make changes the life of other people around you.

Tips for Driving in the Riviera Maya – Quintanna Roo, Mexico

If you choose to get off the beaten path somewhere between Mexico’s bustling Cancun and the Mayan ruins of Tulum, you will probably want to rent a car. Major car rental companies are well represented at the airport in Cancun and route 307, the road that runs the length of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, is newly paved and easy to navigate. Just imagine yourself atop Nohoc Mul, the second tallest Mayan pyramid in the Americas, with only howler monkeys and turquoise browned mot-mots for company. A rental car gives you the freedom to arrive hours before the tour buses and wander the ruins alone. The driving is easy, the roads are well marked, and the freedom is fabulous.

If you decide to navigate Mexico’s Riviera Maya from behind the wheel of a rental car, here are a few tips.


If you fly over the speed bumps or topes along route 307, you will destroy your tires and wreck havoc with the suspension your car. These are NOT American speed bumps. Even crawling over them is jarring. Drive slowly and treat them with respect.


Stay well within the speed limit, especially through Playa del Carmen. The policia are friendly and formal and will write you a ticket and you will be required to give them your driver’s license which will be returned to you when you appear at the police station in Cancun to pay your fine.

If you should happen to get stopped, it is acceptable to profusely apologize, saying that you did not understand the laws and then ask if you can pay the fine on the spot. Offer the officer $20 American. He probably will not take it at first, but if you are persistent, polite, and sincere, you may get out of a trip to the police station. Yes, the money will most likely go into his pocket, but the police in Quintanna Roo make very little money and your generous propina (tip) will help feed his family. Think of it as a donation to a good cause.


The gas stations along route 307 are all full serve and when you pull in, an attendant will promptly start filling your tank. Make sure to ask for a specific amount of gas. If you ask him to, “fill it up,” no doubt you will end up paying for a few extra gallons that never make it into your tank. Yes, you will encounter folks in Mexico working hard to separate you from your hard earned cash. But keep in mind, the average wage is about $5 a day.


They’re not looking for you, unless of course you are smuggling drugs. Tourism is in the best interest of the people in Mexico and, thanks to threats of flu and border wars, numbers of tourists have been dropped significantly. The Federals can spot a tourist a mile away and they really are there to protect you.


Just trust me on this one.


The road is wide and straight and flat and leads to adventure. Driving in the Riviera Maya is easy. Relax, enjoy the scenery, and having fun discovering what’s around the next bend.

I Can Live and Other Poems



The barber sees

a potential customer

in me but I pass

the tense faces

after the long walk sunshine

a fag in the car

short carnival:

neatly hide faded vests drying

in the balcony

helter skelter

afternoon windy rain

allergies again



Death hides in the body

but who cares? it’s obscure

living on the edge

seeking space into swamp

they all talk about the sun

swelling in the sky

and close eyes to the spider

spinning waves on the ceiling

all alone, but who cares?

suspicion and distance

like lovers they pretend

to leave yet stay longer

dishing out luxuries

showing off generosity

on the heart’s fancy table

waiting to welcome the guest



They say my birth was a heavenly event:

here I am suffering third-rate villains

that erect walls to stop the chariots

from Merkaba: the angels fume but who cares

heaven is a mirage in human zoo



The dates on calendar question

all my undone acts

and memories that haunt or fade

in nightly nakedness

stumbling toward the next day’s sun

without celebration

at 63 January jeers

my degenerating sex

a still itch: mantra and mirror

quiet God and drying petals



Late August:

clouded midnight, sneezing

restless in bed

all negative vibes

well up the mind

jackals yell outside

I read Hsu Chicheng

for a gleam of light



I’ve outlived

the winter’s allergies

and depressing rains

in a human zoo

I can live

my retirement too

without pension and medicine:

the wheelchair doesn’t frighten

I can live

uncared and unknown

survive broken home

the numbness of the arms

the pain in the neck

and inflation too



Time’s wrinkling fingers

trivialize the sun and snow

in a crooked land

I see history crippled

with midnight dyspnoea

the green umbrella

hosts disaster:

the avalanche waits on its shoulders

the wound opens



My shrinking body

even if I donate

what’s there for research:

devil in the spine

abusing tongue in sleep

or bleeding anus

defy all prayers

on bed or in temple-

the same heresy

oozing and stinking

onanist excursion

dead or alive



They make my face

ugly in my own sight

what shall I see in the mirror?

there is no beauty

or holiness left

in the naked nation:

the streams flow dark

and the hinges of doors moan

politics of corruption

I weep for its names

and the faces they deface

with clay dreams



The crack in the sky

is not the rosy cleavage

to rape the body

nor is the beast any free

to escape the bloody river

that reflects stony wrath

in doggy position

they all expect their reward

for burying the noise

of sunny fire wheeling

in frozen passion

turn beggars they all

search warmth with ash-smeared sadhus

at roadside tea stall

whistle and wash off sins

in sangam muddled

with privileged few soar high

but I’m glad I crawl on earth

my roots don’t wave in the air



If hand can meet hand

and embrace is not sin

if lip to lip kissing

or cheek to cheek hugging

is not forbidden

why do they question

meeting of thighs or breasts:

divine in action

it’s spring; the body’s love

itching to bloom with soul



I’ve lived 23000 days

awaiting a day that could become

god’s day in eden, earth or within

or even my grandson’s smile

on his first day in mother’s arms

now I sit an empty boat

on a still river

and shake with quail dreams



The body is precious

a vehicle for awakening

treat it with care, said Buddha

I love it’s stillness

beauty and sanctity

here and now

sink into its calm

to hear the whisper in all

its ebbs and flows

erect, penetrate

the edge of life and loss

return to wholeness



Flowers don’t bloom

in tribute to

builders’ apathy

the trees are dying:

they too know they’ll be felled

or the heat will kill

the concrete rises

calamity too will rise

none talk the ruins they bring



I don’t know where I lived

in my former existence

but the hell I’ve breathed

for three decades here

couldn’t adapt my soul:

I remain a stranger

to them and to the cold walls

that put out the candle-lights

in my roofless house



Being good

couldn’t make me know

any better

I was harmless

they sold my name

and became

what I couldn’t

in the middle of day light

I vanished like faces

from voters’ list

with no difference

to who wins

or who loses



Some fresh bones and designer dress

distorted hopes, cataract vision

hardly any better the faces of the body

and if there is a soul, the soul hears

the map guides the mind’s midnight

but the destination is different

deception is courage

they know the end of journey

and get down when the train stops

I too descend



Sleepy roads

with or without light

tear the sky

I watch the murmur

in the misty darkness

Tao of midnight

tranquil emptiness:

breathing deceptive cold

the echoes haunt



She trusts her reading of my horoscope

and predicts a comfortable future

even as I know my toothache

now means the fall of my teeth

and anal bleeding means sure surgery

my dying libido is as uncomfortable

as the dream of humans sleeping on the ceiling:

their flattened naked back amuses me

who knows who’ll fall first?

before I wake up I try to gauge the selvage

of restless lines, moon, Saturn, and Venus

conspiring new challenges

for the quakes in my elements

it’s already mid-November

and the bouts of bronchial allergy

tell of the cycle of incarceration

her moving lips are no soporific



The coiled divine

renews eternity

in the body’s cells

fed on sensuous sweetness

and moment’s littleness

for years fleshly reign

seemed spirit’s radiance

in the deep pit

now suddenly sparks the itch

for heaven’s nude delight



Before the bananas ripe

let’s meet at least once

lest the fog dampen passion

let’s water our love

the sun is bright this morning

and night’s promising

let’s meet and unfreeze winter

of years, drink some wine

restore warmth of faith and hope

and heal the breaches

without black goggles for seeing

let’s meet at least once



Teary eyes

with sparks and lightning

dried vision

caged existence

seek deliverance

muttering old prayers



Unpruned roses

and unknown grasses

make me aware

of the emptiness

the dusk in her room sounds

she searches out

her shadow in

the rising moon

I feel the season’s prick



When gods are out to teach me a lesson

where to go to pray or find relief?

my prophet friends predict each day good

and the future fulfilling, the palmists find

the sun, Saturn, Venus and rahu hostile:

they seek money for rituals, stones or mantras

while God gives us the best in life gratis

I can’t change man or nature, nor the karmas

now or tomorrow they all delude

in the maze of expediency and curse

stars, fate, destiny, or life before and after

degenerating the mind, body, thought and divine



The cracks on the parapet

have widened for the peepal

to stay green for once

rains too want us to drench

our heads and feel one

with cool wind

in a dark corner

shed fears and enjoy love



Each night a challenge:

suffocative restlessness

sleepless spirits’ noise

sexual starvation

anal menstruation

dingy subconscious

conspire behind closed eyes

absent healing and

wishful miracles

a clueless sun rises

bugging time and life



With scheming mind

and crafty heart

loud and rebellious

a professional loser

perfumes the room

with flattering lips

and strays a preacher

to revolution



Because I had no STD code to dial Heaven

I walked into Hell measuring happiness

in buried lines on palms and shrinking head:

I couldn’t know when love sieved and sank

like a ship on vacation



In the poems I write

you can read my mind

even know when I’m blue

before the mirror

when I stand in the dark

you can’t scent me

nor will words comfort

in chilly December

when alone in candle light

empty coffee cups

deride the syllables

I spin to make haiku

my hairs in air

reveal the baldness:

wank without wad



After a day’s labor

they lie on a sand pile

in the basement of

a new shopping complex

rising slowly next door

like the waves at Nellore beach

that broke before wiping

my name on the sand

I take a snap at sunset:

they play with plastic bottles in water

or eat fried fish in the huts

I’m warned against placing it on Facebook

she hates my face

nor am I allowed to speak

to the drug addict picked up

from the door steps of

Varsha Apartments

his father questions

if there’s law in the country

only a street dog wags its tail

I wheeze and take a seroflo puff

and wonder if I should visit

Nimhans and get checked

to manage my sleep

she questions why I think of Bangalore

for treatment of all my ailments

and takes me to Bannerghatta zoo

for animal viewing.

Why Clothing Donation Benefits Everyone

Most of us are guilty of over-consumerism today. One of the things that most of us have is having more clothes than we actually needed. If I would look into my closet, I can collect together quite a pile of items that I haven’t looked at or used in over six months or even a year. Somehow, it’s very hard to get the time to collect these clothing items together, bag them up and get rid of them. Plus, many of the clothing are in excellent, almost new condition.

It is such a shame to dump it into the trash, when it could be going to good use. That’s where our local charities and used clothing stores come to the rescue. These establishments always welcome clothing donations and often offer discount coupons should you choose to shop for other needed items at a later date. Also, you don’t have to limit your drop-offs to clothing only. You can also send shoes, household items, books and even furniture items, as long as they are in good condition and not requiring any major repairs.

Having a place to send our clothing donations has been half the battle for our family. From time to time we’ve found a needy family who can benefit from our unneeded items, however, it’s can be a touchy topic to bring up, and some people have hang-ups about wearing used clothing or they feel like their a charity case, if you try to give them something. Having a retail establishment that welcomes clothing donations solves all those problems for us and eliminates the guesswork.

In addition, many of these used clothing stores now offer free pick-up of your used clothing donations. In our area, we will get a call about once a month notifying us that a truck will be on our street on a particular date, and asking if we will be putting anything out for pick-up. This service is wonderful. All you need to do is bag up your clothing donation along with any other items you would like to have carted away, and the truck will stop by and pick up your donation. Often times, the proceeds from the sales of donations, will go in part to a local charity. This is an added incentive for people to clear out their unused, unneeded items for a good cause!

It is such a waste to throw clothes away or to just leave it hanging in one’s closet, and not worn. Donating used clothing is a gesture of generosity; it helps less-fortunate individuals in our communities. It helps to clear out space, making room for items we actually need and use, and eliminating clutter.

In short, clothing donations can benefit everyone. It is definitely something meaningful and our family will continue doing.

Get Tax Deductions After Donating To Charity

Many of us look for ways to lessen our taxes. You may invest in personal loans, insurances, and different other mediums, but have you ever thought about charity? Yes, there are various charity programs that provide tax deductions, but it is vital for you to know the restrictions of your contributions.

Contributions that is deductible and non-deductible

According to IRS standards, companies that work under 501(c) (30) are liable for tax deduction for charitable acts. This may comprise of literacy, scientific, religious, child care and also amateur athletic organizations.

You may feel felicitous knowing that if you contribute to any of the organizations mentioned under 501(c) (3), you are eligible for tax deductible donations. Well, there is a twist. Not all those contributions offer you this advantage.

Here are some options where tax is indeed deductible:

• Deductions with respect to property should be made on the market value

• Intangible property like mutual funds, bonds, stocks

• Property contribution like jewelry, cars, furniture and old clothes

• Money contributions as credit cards, checks and currency type

The non deductible options comprise:

• Political group of candidates

• Civic league, labor unions, sports clubs

• Profit based hospitals and schools

• Raffle draw, bingo or lottery tickets

• Gifts given to a person

Selecting the appropriate Charitable Tax deductions

Since now you are aware of tax deductible donations, the next step is choosing the appropriate charitable trust and avail the advantages from them. If you have a small business, then cancer charity might be a tax saving choice for you.

Firstly, you have to research on different kinds of charitable institutions. Be patient and realize the charity type you want to make. When you are satisfied with the institution, make your donations the way you want.

Make sure that you make your donation according to the category restriction. Once you pay the donation for the entire year, just keep in mind that you have to route it through the form 1040 Schedule A.

Keep in mind to keep all the records of the donations made, for example to kids with cancer. Any type of charitable organization would give you a receipt for the donation made. This may be later produced while writing off your taxes.

Know about the limits of your contribution

To a specific extent, the restrictions put forward by IRS would never affect the taxable deductions. If your contribution is more than 20% of the gross income, then there may be a restriction. This again may vary, according to the organization type you are donating to.

According to IRS standards, in case you have specific contribution limits, then you have to pay it off within 5 years, provided that the excess that you carry forward doesn’t surpass 50% of the gross income.

Great Fundraising Ideas For Young Children

Finding the perfect fundraising idea can be quite a challenge, especially when dealing with young children. When fundraising with children, the perfect idea is one that is both fun and safe. There is a countless amount of ideas that can meet this criteria.

One of the most proven fundraising methods, that is kid appropriate would be a fun run or 10k. A fun run is a great way to raise funds and get exercise at the same time you can ask the kids to dress up to make it fun. How they work is simple, each participant attracts sponsors, who pledge a donation for every kilometre they walk or run. If this is part of a school event you can always get each class to walk or run a certain amount and add the total distance together at the end. There are many ways to attract sponsorship and the most obvious is from friends and family. However, another great source of sponsors can be from small businesses, many small business owners take every opportunity to be philanthropic. Just always remember that the kids should never try to attract a sponsorship from strangers, without adult supervision.

Having a cake sale is another great idea for fundraising with young children. It’s great because everyone loves brownies, cookies and cakes. Also, the kids will have fun helping with the baking process and maybe even decorating the goods. There is one downside however, and that is it takes a very small investment to get going. The good news is it only takes a few sales to break even. There are many places where a cake sale can be set up like churches, schools, local events and maybe even local community centres.

Selling a service is very appropriate for young children, and it can be a very profitable fundraising idea. One of the most common services that is sold at fundraisers is car washing. A fundraising car wash can be highly successful anytime of the year, but they do much better during the warmer months. The only requirements are, you need to have soap and access to running water. People go to fundraising car washes to help out, not because they expect the best car washing service in town. Other service based activities is shopping bags being packed, gardening or raking leaves and taking peoples unwanted junk away and maybe finding thing to sell at a sale.

Holding a raffle can be another great idea for a fundraiser. There are a few things you need to do to hold a raffle. The most important is acquiring prizes, they don’t have to be extravagant, but they have to be something people would pay for a chance to win. A couple of good ideas for prizes would be meat, antiques or gift certificates. You can acquire prizes, by either buying them or accepting donations. Next, you have to advertise, people need to know you’re having a raffle for it to be successful. A couple of good ways to advertise would be, handing out fliers, posting on local message boards (both on and offline) and by word of mouth.

Getting the children excited and motivated is a good thing so maybe incentivise them with their own special treat for raising a certain amount of money like a school disco or entertainer or trip for them. There are many other ideas for fundraisers you can try, just always make sure they’re fun and appropriate for all participants.

How Can Going Back to School Be Green?

Pupils and teachers alike are probably trying not to think about going back to school as the long summer holidays have only just begun, but as it is actually only a matter of weeks away, we have been thinking about how you can stay green as the new academic year approaches.

Firstly there is the equipment and kit that is invariably required whether you are teaching or learning. Many of these requirements are similar from primary school up until university so keep reading whichever type of educational establishment you work or study in. Stationery is a good start, much of which can be bought made from recycled materials. And when it comes to paper, remember to use both sides whether writing or printing. Also plan ahead with regards to lunches and invest in a lunch box rather than using plastic bags every day. If you need new school uniform check whether your school offers second hand clothes and donate your old good quality ones.

With regards to getting to your school or college, try to walk or cycle whenever possible, or use public transport if it is too far. Alternatively, set up a car sharing pool to reduce car use and save money.

Once you are there, you could think about how to make your school or college greener. Why not set up some eco-iniatives with colleagues or peers? You could become a Fairtrade school, set up a recycling scheme or move towards using renewable energy.

Ultimately, going back to school is just one more part of our lives where we can easily make a difference to our carbon footprint by making small changes to the purchases we make and actions we take. So as you start making plans for the next school year, think about how these could be a little greener.

Make Money By Selling Your Junk Car

Do you have a car that is just sitting on your lawn, or in your driveway, and does not get used? Perhaps you have a wrecked vehicle or an old car that does not run anymore, and you don't have the cash to fix it. It probably isn't even worth fixing it. Did you know that you could just call number, and then magically a tow truck will come pick it up, and pay you cash? I'm not kidding! Sounds too good to be true, but it is very true. There are actually companies in your local area, that will literally pay you green paper for you to let them tow your junk away.

You can get rid of that ugly hunk of metal and replace it with cold, hard, cash! The neighbors will be happy, you will be happy, the environment will be happy, and the tow company will be happy. It's a win, win, win, win! All you have to do is hop on the internet, and Google search to find a local company to come remove your junk car.

Your probably wondering what hoops you will need to jump through in order for someone to come do this service for you. Well it is actually extremely easy. There are only a couple things that you need to do to get this service.

# 1. You need to have a junk car, or a car that you no longer want to own.

# 2. You need to have the title of the car.

# 3 You need to actually pick up the phone and call to give them your address. You can also visit their website and fill out a form if you don't want to call. Most of the companies give you online quotes now.

It is really that easy. Right now today you could be a few hours away from having extra money in your pocket.

So clear off your lawn or driveway. It's time to free up some room, and get rid of that eye soar that you have been holding onto for so long. Plus it's so easy, why wouldn't you do it? It will take the tow truck about 5 minutes tops to hook it up, pay you cash, and be outta your sight. So enjoy your new junk free life and fatter wallet. It really is almost too easy easy to get rid of your junk car now a days. So give it a shot because you have nothing to lose … except for that junk that is collecting dust and rust.

Keep Records of Charitable Contributions to Avoid Fines and Penalties

You should keep proper records to prove your charitable contributions. Contributions can be of 3 types. Your contributions may be in cash or you may make non-cash contributions or you may get reimbursement of expenses while donating your services. Usually, the organization accepting your donation which is more than $75.00 in value, gives you a written statement of confirmation. However some additional records are required for specific contributions.

1. Cash contributions under $250 – You may donate in cash, by check, by credit card or by electronic funds transfer. You may also donate by allowing a deduction from your payroll. You need to keep the following records for such a donation:

a. A canceled check, a bank statement or a credit card statement.

b. A receipt from the qualified organization which should show its name, and the date and the amount of the contribution.

c. If you are making a contribution by a payroll deduction, a pay stub or Form W-2 showing the date and amount of contribution. You should also keep a pledge card issued by the qualified organization.

2. Contributions of $250 or more – You must have a separate acknowledgment for each contribution of $250 or more. If you have made several contributions to the same organization, you should not combine them.

3. Non-cash contributions – if your contribution is not made in cash, you must keep a receipt of that contribution showing the name of the charitable organization, the date of the charitable contribution and a reasonable description of the property given towards contribution. You should also keep a record of the fair market value of the property and the basis on which such fair market value was arrived at. If you want to reduce the fair market value of the property, you should keep the working of the basis on which you made such a reduction. If you attach any terms while gifting the property, a written statement of such terms must be with you. When you leave the property at an un-attended drop side of the charity, you need not keep a receipt.

If you are claiming a deduction over $500 but below $5000, in addition to be the above records, you must keep records showing how you got the property, the approximate date on which you got the property and the cost of such property. If you are unable to get such records, you should attach a statement explaining the reasons for not having the records.

If you are claiming a deduction over $5000, in addition to the above records, you must also get a qualified written appraisal of the donated property from a qualified appraiser.

The acknowledgment you get from the qualified organization must be on paper, mentioning the amount of cash you contributed. If the organization gave you any goods or services depending on your contribution, the fact must be mentioned on the acknowledgment. If you get only intangible religious benefit, a statement to that effect should be attached. The acknowledgment and this statement must be with you before the date you filed your return for the year in which you make the contribution. If the acknowledgment does not mention the date of the contribution, you must have a receipt or a bank statement supporting your claim for payment.

4. Out of pocket expenses -If you volunteer service to a qualified organization, you may get reimbursement of out of pocket expenses while rendering such services. You must have adequate records to prove the amount of expenses. You must also have an acknowledgment from that organization specifying the services you provided, a statement on whether or not the organization provided you any goods or services towards reimbursement, and a statement that the only benefit your received was an intangible religious benefit, if that was the case. You must have this acknowledgment before the date you file your return.

In case you claim expenses towards use of your car, you must keep written records of your expenses. These records must show the name of the organization you were serving and the date every time you used your car for this purpose. If you are claiming the standard mileage rate of 14¢ a mile, you might sure the miles you drove your car for charitable purpose. If you claim deduction of actual expenses, then your records must show the costs for operating the car for this purpose.

You should keep excellent records of your charitable contributions to avoid fines and penalties later.