As we approach the end of each year, there are always questions about the tax deductibility of charitable contributions made to local churches. The rule is relatively simple – donors must deliver or mail (with the postmark visible) checks on or by December 31 in order to claim a charitable contribution deduction for 2016.
Checks presented to the church in early 2017 – even on Sunday, January1, regardless of when the check was actually written or dated, will not qualify as a charitable contribution in 2016. The only exception, as noted above, is when the check was written, mailed, and postmarked in 2016.
Therefore, potential donors looking for charitable contribution deductions in 2016 should make sure that their contributions are in the hands of the church on or prior to December 31. By taking this simple step, all the confusion is removed – and the church secretary or treasurer does not have to decipher postmarks on your envelope. So give big on Christmas Day – Sunday, Dec. 25.