What do we do with post-dated checks or checks that arrive in the offering box in January with a December date on them? If a contribution is postmarked by the 31st of December, I assume we are required to include that figure in our 2010 tally? Is there anything else we should know about the reporting of contributions?
Make sure to check collection boxes, if any, prior to the close of the year. Checks that are received by the church prior to January 1 are included as 2010 contributions as long as the funds are available to the charity. A post-dated check (after December 31) must be posted as 2011, even if a 2010 date is recorded on it, since it cannot yet be deposited. Checks received via US Mail postmarked by December 31 should be recorded for 2010.
Make sure to provide date and amount for any individual contributions greater than $250. A simple total for the year is appropriate unless additional notation is necessary to list these larger amounts. Many churches simply give a list of all contributions for the year no matter the amount. Then they provide a total as well.
Finally, provide a statement that no goods or services other than intangible religious benefits were provided in return for the contributions. IRS Publication 1771 is helpful in addressing many charitable giving questions. A link is provided below.