Fall is in the air. The coolness feels like a small fan is gently stirring the air each morning when I greet the day. Not to rush through Fall; because, seasons lack distinction in their own right here in Atlanta, but soon it will be time to start seriously compiling taxes. As you rotate your wardrobe and seasonal items and before the holiday rush pulls you every which way,take time to look for items for donation to your favorite charity.
Charities that run thrift stores directly are a good choice. Well-recognized, often providing donation pickup these organizations always have prolific and accessible donation centers. In reading, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, a vivid reminder was painted about the extent some children depend upon quality goods being available for them in thrift stores. In the book, Jeanette only knows pain and hunger while wearing a few threadbare dresses bought from a thrift store. Her coat, is French wool, but without buttons. She and her brother and sisters use their pain and hardship to motivate and work-hard, achieving success and prosperity in New York City. But I digress. (If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. Easy to read and well-written).
When you donate you need to send items in full working order and good repair. Think of poor Jeanette freezing in a hand-me down coat in West Virginia without buttons and the children taunting her. Next, you should prepare a list of donated items. Second, you should always attach your receipt, from the donee, to your list. The list should contain a brief description of the items, the quantity, and the fair market value. How do you arrive at fair market value of used household goods?
Tip: Here is a link to a valuation guide for normal used household goods . It is important to list all items, using short descriptions, as you place them in the bags or boxes for donation. Following are a few example descriptions:
5 Men’s sport’s shirts(High-End Retail)
2 Men’s Sports Shirts(Discount Retail Chain)
1 Coffee table wood with glass inset
The more valuable the item, the more descriptive detail you should offer. Use the common household value guides, two of which I have provided links to in this post, to place a value on each item. Total and write the value on the receipt and tuck away with your tax receipts. Be sure to attach a copy of the value guides you used to arrive at your values to your receipt and descriptive value list. If in doubt, add a few snapshots to the packet. For more information, check the recipients website for IRS donation guidelines or download the latest donation regulations at the Treasury Departments website.
If you decide to give a more valuable item to charity or a museum you may need an appraisal. For non-cash donations over $500 you will need to fill out Form 8283 and attach to your tax return. For a non-cash gift of an item or group of similar items, such as a group of antique books on flowers in GA, valued over $5,000 you must have an appraisal by a qualified appraiser.
Appraisers at Turn the Page meet the IRS’s new definition for “qualified appraiser”. We appraise all types of personal property and prepare legal appraisals for tax purposes as well as other uses.
Disclaimer: Please check with your tax preparer for specific tax preparation advice as we are not tax accountants. We are professional appraisers, who work as part of your legal, tax, or insurance team assessing items of personal property and arriving at value conclusions.