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Now that we are a 501(c)3 charity organization, I am getting this question a lot. I hope this answer helps.
Any expense that you pay that you wouldn’t normally pay out, as in shipping coupons to military families for Coups For Troops, you can track the amount paid in postage and record it as a tax deduction. My understanding is there is no receipt from us that is necessary for postage.
Regarding the coupons, they are of no value until they are redeemed. Therefore, we can’t estimate the value of the coupons as they are being shipped. What we can do is issue a receipt that states that we received X lbs of coupons (weight) with a disclaimer that estimated value is the responsibility of the donor. In that case, you would be responsible for determining the value of the coupons you sent and if the IRS decides to audit or question the donation, you would be responsible for providing the justification of those numbers.
However, in that case, we would have to track the weight of the coupons that are received. Unfortunately, I fear that would result in losing some of my volunteers handling the coupon donations, because weighing each package and recording the donor’s info would ask another task. However, if you mail directly to a military family, not a satellite location, then your USPS receipt combined with a dated email/letter for the donor receiving the package, should serve as documentation, and then, I can issue a receipt based on the weight shipped, but it would not based on a cash value.
International shipments do require a Custom Form (PS-Form 2976-A). These can be filled out manually or electronically. There is a Discount if you do the forms and postage online at The USPS Website. You must be able to print the label and custom forms (standard paper) within 24 hours if doing so online, so have a printer attached.
To complete the form:
- Fill in the Military & return address. The country is United States for all military addresses.
- Complete the weight (you can guess the weight or use bathroom scales if you do not have a postage scale).
- Select a non-delivery option: Treat as Abandoned.
- For Package Information: I select “GIFTS” but I know some people use “OTHER”. Contents Description: “Expired Coupons”.
- For Item Information: Detailed Description: “Expired Coupons”. Item Value: “0.01”. Quantity: “1”. Weight: must be less than whatever you put on page 1.
- Accept Terms & Conditions.
- Review & Print
You will receive multiple copies of the Custom Forms when you print them. Cut them on the line and keep the Sender’s Copy for your records. The others will be attached to the box using a plastic sleeve like envelope, available at your local Post Office or ordered online. They are PS Form 2976-E. Put all other copies of the custom forms inside. You must also write or print, via a label, the address directly on the box, because the custom forms could be separated during shipment.
No! You can package your coupons however fits best for your volume and budget. We suggest that you use the USPS Flat Rate Priority Boxes, because of the “If it fits, it ships” program. These boxes range from $5.80 to $17.45. The boxes do have a weight limit of 20 lbs for International shipments, but personally I have never gotten 20 lbs of cut coupons in the largest box! There is a special APO “America Supports You” flat rate box. This box is the same size as the Large Flat Rate, but there is a $2 discount for using this box. It can only be sent to a US Military Addresses, and must be ordered via the Post Office (locally or online). All Flat Rate boxes are free.
International shipments do require a Custom Form (PS-Form 2976-A). These can be filled out manually or electronically. There is a Discount if you do the forms and postage online at The USPS Website. You must also write or print, via a label, the address directly on the box, because the custom forms could be separated during shipment. If you have questions regarding how to complete the custom form, see that FAQ question or check with your local PO Clerk.
No, the military families overseas can use all coupons up to 6 month expired. However, the military families stationed in Hawaii and Alaska can only use coupons that are current and not expired. If you have coupons that have at least a month left before they expire, please use our Direct Mail tab and put in the message box that you would like to be matched with a Hawaii or Alaska family. You can also send current coupons to a satellite location or place them into a drop box, and they will be sent to the appropriate military family.