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Year-End Contributions

A common question we are asked by nonprofits is how to handle contributions at the end of the year. A typical scenario is an organization’s fiscal year ends on December 31, but offices are closed from December 31 through January 3rd. The question is:

If funds are sent on or before December 31 but not received and deposited until
after January 3, do those funds get credited for the previous fiscal year as a donation?


Our answer to nonprofits is that they should set a cut-off date in January for when to start recording gifts as 2012 rather than 2011.

  • A week to ten days in is usually sufficient. If funds are sent prior to January 1, 2012, based on the post mark date, the contributions should be honored for 2011.
  • Record those contributions as 2011 income, even though they are deposited in 2012.
  • In QuickBooks, list each of the checks as a sales receipt and date them for the appropriate December date and have the funds go to Undeposited Funds (you may have to create or activate that account).
  • Then record the bank deposit of those funds on the day they were deposited. The income matches the donor intent, and the checking account will reconcile up nicely to the bank statement.
  • Then send out the thank-you’s to donors, so they can prepare their tax returns.

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