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Final rules on substantiation of charitable contributions

The IRS issued final rules pertaining to charitable deduction substantiation. With a few exceptions, these regulations will impact charitable contributions made after July 30, 2018.

The new regulations concern cash contributions to charities. These also clarify substantiation requirements pertaining to donations of property. There are also sections pertaining qualified appraisals, and defining what is a qualified appraiser.

Confusion regarding the effective dates of the new regulations

One commentator mentioned that the regulations seem clear upon first examination. But application of the effective dates will likely cause complications.

Generally, new regulations created by the IRS effectively replace the old ones. Such replacement allows taxpayers not to have to worry about older regulations so long as any transaction does not predate the effective date of the new regulations.

The situation is different pertaining to these newly issued final rules on substantiation of charitable deductions. The above-mentioned commentator states that the new set of regulations do “not replace or repeal” the old ones. So long as the old regulations do not conflict with the new regulations, these old regulations remain valid.

This may make it difficult for a taxpayer to know which set of regulations to apply without a side-by-side comparison. The new regulations cross-reference the old regulations on a number of occasions. And as the new and old regulations often cover the same topics, knowing the effective dates of each is important in determining which rules to follow.

If the new regulations are silent, additional issues arise. Simply because the new regulations are silent does not mean the new regulations do not “write out” the requirements of the old regulations.

With so much confusion, taxpayers may come into conflict with the IRS concerning interpretation of the rules. Mistakes will also happen. And penalties taxpayers face may be severe. It will therefore be important to have experienced legal counsel on your side to provide you with your strongest defense.

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