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Tax Valuation Guide for Goods Donated to Charity

how to value donated items for tax purposes

As you clean out your closet or reorganize your household, be sure to keep track of the items you give to charity. It's your job, not the charity's, to report the value of the donation to the Internal Revenue Service.

For any items donated after Aug. 17, the new Pension Protection Act (which became law on that August date), requires that all household items given to a charity must be in good or better condition. Some questionable items that you donated in previous years and claimed were worth a few dollars because they were in "fair" condition are no longer acceptable.

Several computer software programs are available to help you figure the tax value of your good will. But many people still prefer to use pen and paper, jotting down the item and its worth as they are pulling it from the closet or dresser drawer. If that's your style, the following list will give you an idea of what your donated

clothing and household goods are worth. It indicates fair market values for some common items as suggested in the Salvation Army's valuation guide.

Use the work sheets below to record your contributions and use them when you itemize your deductions. If you prefer to download and print a PDF version of each work sheet, see the notation following each.

You don't have to send in your list of donated items with your return. Simply keep the information with your personal tax records and put the total contribution amount on line 16 of your Schedule A.

If you make a single noncash gift worth between $250 and $500 (for example, you donate a vehicle ), you also need to get for your records a written acknowledgment of your gift from the qualified charitable organization.

And if the total of all your contributed property comes to more than $500, you do have to file IRS Form 8283 with your tax return.

Category: Taxes

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