Everyone needs to know what this means!
If you have problems getting to sleep at night and you turn to the IRS tax code for help, you might find some vocabulary that is very foreign to you. One of the more uncommon words used by the IRS is the term "contemporaneous." So what does it mean and why should you care?
According to the IRS, it means that the records used to support a claim on your tax return are created and originated at the same time as your claimed deduction. In other words, if you realize that you forgot to get a receipt for something, you are out of luck if you try to get one at a later date.
Perhaps you know you had the expense, but you simply forgot to get a receipt. You can cry foul, but time and again the IRS has had tax courts uphold their elimination of a taxpayer's deduction for lack of contemporaneous documentation. Here are some areas where the term contemporaneous is especially important:
The donation of vehicles, boats and planes is often the most cited area where lack of contemporaneous documentation is a problem because these types of donations have a high estimated market value that changes from month to month. But timely, written acknowledgement from the charitable organization is also required for any donation of $250 or more.
What you need to know
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Mia Verc, CPA; Janice Papais, CPA
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