No Good Deed

Have you donated your old clothes, furniture, books, appliances or other items to charity this past year? The good news is, you can deduct it! The bad news is, you might need a good bit of information in order to take the deduction. If all your non-cash donations throughout the year total over $500, you will need to provide at least all of the following information for EACH time you donated:

  1. The┬ádonee’s name and address
  2. A description of what was donated (i.e. office furniture, men’s clothing, books, etc.)
  3. The condition of the items donated (must be in GOOD or better condition to be deductible)
  4. The date of the donation
    and most importantly:
  5. The fair market value of the donation

Most organizations, like Goodwill or AKS, will not provide any value of the goods donated, and they may only provide the date and/or a signature on the receipt. Therefore, it is up to you, the taxpayer, to provide all of the other information, including determining the value of what you donated. In order to help you determine that value, we have a link to a valuation guide in the Resources tab on this website. You can also click the following links for valuation guides from a few of the most common donees:

Salvation Army
American Kidney Services

One question we get often is, “Can’t you just come up with a number?” The answer is “No.” No, neither we nor any other tax preparer can come up with a number for the value of your non-cash donations. You are the only one who knows not only what you donated, but what condition it was in and how to determine the value of it. Let these guides help you determine some good values that you can then give to your tax preparer when it is time to file, so you can receive the maximum benefit for your generosity. There are also many apps available for you to use to more easily keep a record of all your giving.

We hope the new year is a good one for you and may you be able to give even more than last year!