You will need a letter from the charitable organization you gave to for any donations of more than $250, in case you get audited.
"When people take a deduction, the onus is on the donor to prove that they made the deduction [correctly]," said Eileen Heisman, CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust.
In addition, donations must be charitable gifts, not payment in exchange for goods and services. In 2012, the IRS disallowed $22,000 in donations from a Texas couple, David and Verona Durden, to their church.
The reason? The family could not prove how the money was used, and the church's documentation did not state that the Durdens didn't receive any goods or services in exchange for the donation.
In order to take any donation, you must itemize your deductions and file a Schedule A.