Having incomplete substantiation of donations when filing nixes a deduction for the contributions, according to the Tax Court. A couple made regular gifts of $250 or more to the church that they belonged to. However, the acknowledgement from the church failed to state that no goods or services were given for the donations. After the Service denied their write-off because of the faulty acknowledgement, they got a letter from the church saying they received no benefits for the contributions. But that came far too late. The deduction was properly denied because the donors didn't have valid substantiation in hand before filing.
Starting in 2015, the IRS will be looking more closely at ALL charitable deduction.