Sample Auction Reporting Checklist for Nonprofits

Charitable auctions trigger a variety of compliance and reporting requirements. Use this sample checklist to help prepare your nonprofit.

Sample Auction Reporting Checklist for Nonprofits
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Customize and adapt this sample to fit your nonprofit’s specific needs.

The text of the checklist is below, and you can also download it as a Word doc to customize here: Sample Auction Reporting Checklist for Nonprofits

Sample Auction Reporting Checklist for Nonprofits

Charitable auctions trigger a variety of compliance and reporting requirements. These include but aren’t limited to the items listed below. An organization may wish to adapt and build on this checklist to meet its specific needs.

Yes No n/a

  • Staffing and recordkeeping Systems adequate to capture information needed for financial accounting and Form 990 reporting of property donations and dispositions
  • Charitable solicitation licenses current in all states where organization required to register
  • State solicitation agency disclosure to be included on solicitations and donor acknowledgments (in states where required)

State or local sales taxes to be collected on:

  • Event admissions
  • Auction sales
  • Special occasion permit required for alcoholic beverages

Unrelated business income applicability (check exception(s) that apply):

  • Intermittent activity
  • Activity conducted with substantially all volunteer labor
  • Sale of merchandise substantially all of which donated
  • Sponsor cash or in-kind contributions meet qualified sponsorship payment exception to unrelated business income
  • Written contribution acknowledgments meeting IRS requirements timely provided to donors
  • When requested by donor, Part IV, Section B, of IRS Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions, completed and provided to donor, copy retained by organization
  • Source of good faith estimate of value for each auction item documented in organization records
  • Good faith estimates of auction item values distributed to auction participants or displayed with items
  • Cost of token donor benefits meeting either low-cost articles or de minimis benefit exception to quid pro quo disclosure documented in organization records

Written quid pro quo disclosure, including good faith estimate of donor benefits, provided timely to participants for:

  • Purchased admissions that include donor benefits
  • Auction purchases
  • For sale of auction property where Form 8283 previously signed by organization, Form 8282, Donee Information Return, filed with IRS within 125 days of sale and copy provided to donor
  • Form 1098-C, Contributions of Motor Vehicles, Boats, and Airplanes, filed with IRS and copy provided to donor within 30 days of sale
  • IRS Form 8899, Notice of Income from Donated Intellectual Property, filed within 30 days after close of fiscal year for each year property produces income, up to 10 years, copy provided to donor

IRS Form 990 inclusions:

  • Schedule B, Schedule of Contributors, to report donor information and amounts where annual cash and non-cash donations exceed greater of $5,000 or 2% of all current year contributions
  • Schedule G, Supplemental Information Regarding Fundraising or Gaming Activities, where sum of contributions and income from fundraising events greater than $15,000 for year
  • Schedule M, Noncash Contributions, where annual total exceeds $25,000, or for donation of art, treasures, or qualified conservation property
  • Schedule N, Liquidation, Termination, Distribution, or Significant Disposition of Assets, where total organization assets decrease by more than 25% as result of donation program followed by sales or other dispositions
  • Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, where annual gross receipts from unrelated business income $1,000 or more

About the Author

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Dennis Walsh, CPA, volunteers his post-retirement time helping North Carolina nonprofits with accounting concerns, work for which he recently received the Community Service Award from the Guilford Nonprofit Consortium. He shares his expertise nationally with nonprofits through Blue Avocado. Through the Deborah and Dennis Walsh Foundation, he has also published “Legal & Tax Issues for North Carolina Nonprofits” and Man From Macedonia, a memoir by civil rights leader Aaron Johnson. Dennis also authored the Blue Avocado article Nonprofit Bookkeeping Test, which is one of the ten most viewed Blue Avocado articles of all time. Dennis can be reached through the Micah Project. A version of this article was published by the Planned Giving Design Center.

Articles on Blue Avocado do not provide legal representation or legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for advice or legal counsel. Blue Avocado provides space for the nonprofit sector to express new ideas. Views represented in Blue Avocado do not necessarily express the opinion of the publication or its publisher.

2 thoughts on “Sample Auction Reporting Checklist for Nonprofits

  1. My an organization in our church wants to hold a live auction. Would a license be required? How would we procede? Please send a link.

  2. My an organization in our church wants to hold a live auction. Would a license be required? How would we procede? Please send a link.

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