In the season of giving, many local organizations and businesses often accept donations of clothing, household goods, and other gently used items to help those in need.
Homeowners looking to downsize or preparing for a move (or just clearing up some space at home) can not only pay it forward by donating to a local charity, they can also take advantage of tax deductions. We’ve created this handy guide to tax-deductible items to help you know what to donate and how to write off your contributions.
Belongings and Household Items That You Can Donate
Most organizations have guidelines about the specific items that they accept, but in general, you can donate these kinds of items to local charities:
- furniture, such as beds, desks, tables, and chairs
- clothing, such as shirts, shoes, and new underwear
- appliances, such as heaters, working TVs, and A/C units
- vehicles, such as cars or boats
- building materials, such as doors, windows, and wood flooring
How to Deduct Your Contributions
The IRS allows homeowners to take itemized deductions on charitable contributions on their tax returns. If you have an attic full of items that you don’t use or have several boxes of items that you don’t want to move to your new home, don’t just throw them out! Here’s what to do instead.
- Find a Charity That Qualifies for Deductible Donations
- Determine the Value of Your Contributions
- Know Your Limits
- Ask for a Receipt or Other Written Record
The IRS’s Exempt Organizations Select Check tool is a great place to start. You can search by city or state to find a list of organizations that qualify for tax-deductible contributions. It’s important to note that donations to individuals aren’t tax deductible.
Knowing the monetary value of your contributions is essential to writing off your donations on your taxes. Some organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill, have helpful guidelines about the fair market value of appliances, clothing, furniture, and other household goods.
Before you donate your items, make a list of each item and its value. You can evaluate your items by checking with the organization or, for any high-value items, having them appraised.
There are limits to what you can deduct for charitable contributions on your income tax returns. If your donations are more than 20% of your adjusted gross income, certain caps may apply based on what kinds of items you donated and to what type of organization.
If you contribute over $500 in items, you will need to fill out and attach Form 8283 to your return. If you make any contributions over $5,000 for items like rare art, collectibles, or real estate, you will also need to have them appraised.
Once you’ve donated your items, ask for documentation, such as a receipt. Having a record of your contribution will help you know exactly how much you donated (and what to write off on your taxes).
Are You Donating Items to Prepare for a Home Sale?
You’re off to a great start. Clearing out your closets, basement, attic, or other storage space is the best way to lighten the load for your move. We can help you take your preparations a step further.
Whether you’re starting to research the value of your home or are simply considering the idea of putting your home on the market, we’re here to help. Contact us and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need.