Property Donations are Tax Deductable

December 29, 2010 at 2:00 am 1 comment

By Chad Upton | Editor

While it’s pretty common to get a tax receipt for monetary donations to charity, not everyone knows you can get a tax deduction for donating household items too.

Some of these items include:

  • Clothing and Linens
  • Indoor and Outdoor Furniture
  • Toys and Games
  • Appliances and Electronics
  • Tools and Automotive Items
  • Books, Magazines, Movies and Music
  • Musical Instruments

That’s right, you can donate magazines and musical instruments. But, don’t go raiding your Doctor’s waiting room, useful magazines in good condition are worth a maximum of $0.50 each.

To make a claim, you need the charity or other qualified group to endorse a receipt that shows the name of the charity, the date and location of the donation and an itemized list of the articles along with the fair value of each. For donations under $250, a receipt is not required when it’s impractical to get one, such as when you deposit items in an unattended drop box. But, you’ll still need to provide the details (what, where, when, how much).

So, how do you figure out the fair market value of a book or a trombone? I recommend a free online tool from Turbotax, called ItsDeductible. They provide values based on IRS guidelines (Publication 561) and allow you to print a list that you can bring with you for the charity to sign. For full details, see the charitable donation guidelines in Publication 526.

They estimate a Fuzzy Dice to hang from a rear-view mirror is worth $3 in good condition (seriously). A good trombone is worth between $57 and $82. Do you have an extra coffee maker or microwave in storage? You could be looking at $10 or $20. Do you still have your neighbor’s tile saw? It could be worth $92 on your their tax return.

Your donations can be made to many organizations. There are the traditional charities such as: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, United Way…etc. Donations of money or useful items also qualify for tax deductions when they are made to places of worship (churches, synagogues…etc), government (Federal, state, local), nonprofit schools and hospitals, public parks and recreation facilities, veteran’s groups, Boy and Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and many other organizations.

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Big thanks to Chris for this tip.

Photo: Jen Waller (cc)

Sources: IRS (Publication 526 – Contribution Guidelines | Publication 561 – Determining Value of Donated Property), TurboTax, Money Blue Book

Entry filed under: Around The House. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

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