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Determining Fair Market Value of Donations

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When making donations to charitable organizations of clothing, furniture, and more you need to determine their value for tax purposes. This is a guide about determining fair market value for donations.
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0 found this helpful
January 3, 2007

I am cleaning out my closet before the end of December and taking it to the local helping hands store. When you deduct charitable donations of clothing at tax time, do you just guess at what they are worth? William Lewis, author of Cash for Your Used Clothing, says most people underestimate the worth of such items.
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Before you donate, price each item against similar ones sold at the store where you drop them off. If you're in a 28% tax bracket, a donation worth $400 will earn you a tax deduction of at least $112. I have done this for the past two years and have saved on our income tax with a computer program, "It's Deductible".

By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
April 4, 2011

I am the director of a non profit school for students with autism. We recently received truckloads of furniture and so forth from a local business and I need to write their donation form. Do you have a place on here where I can look up an estimated value of these items? Thanks!

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By Amy from PA

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April 5, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hello, Amy. I did not read MCW's links but let me share with you my personal experience as a public service, non profit agency, employee for assigning "values" of donated materials . Don't do it without the accountable advice of a tax professional.

As a receiver of donations, your responsibility is to acknowledge the receipt of such and not necessarily to assign a value to such, after all, it is the giver - not the receiver, in most donation collection ventures that gets the tax breaks. And let's face it, unless it is cold hard cash, the value is subjective at best.

We put the responsibility of value assessment on the giver, leaving the value amount blank and stating that the value assessed was that of the giver, i.e.: the one who got the tax break.

This was back in the 80's and 90's, so do research the current day of legalities on this matter before taking my word as gospel, just take care to not get caught up in what could come back to haunt you via an IRS audit issue. Take care and proceed smartly. Best of wishes.

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April 6, 20110 found this helpful
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The company donating must have an appraisal if the combined value is over $5,000. There is a IRS publication 561 about donations and fair market values. There is also a Form 8283 they must have to claim the donation. It is their responsibilty not yours. You can list what they give you and look for the "used" prices items in good condition or better would fetch on the local market. Personally, if they want the deduction they should talk to their tax adviser for the advice. Good luck...check out IRS website - I googled IRS fair market value donations and got lots of info....

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July 26, 20110 found this helpful

What is the value of yarn to be donated to a charity? I have a large box filled with yarn for donation, as well as, patterns, knitting needles, and latch and crochet hooks. The yarn varies, some wool, some nylon, etc. and varies in color, but most is enough to make something.

By A Cohen

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July 27, 20110 found this helpful
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When I used to donate things if I wanted a receipt for tax purposes, I was told to estimate what you think the items are worth, you do a lump sum, not for each item.

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July 28, 20110 found this helpful
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Guesstimate the weight of the yarn (by types), the number of knitting needles, latch hooks, and crochet hooks (by size), then do a search on the Internet for comparable values of these items. Those figures will give you a good idea about the value of your donations.

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April 4, 20110 found this helpful

How can I determine the fair market value for a car seat, infant swing, infant walker, and exercise equipment?

By kb from Cincinnati, OH

Answers:

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

I use to work for donations at a Goodwill. This was the most asked question. These places are not allowed to put a price on your items, but make sure that you do get a receipt on every visit. It is up to the person donating to keep a $ value on the items. I'm not sure, but I think the tax laws have changed as far as how much you can write off. Be sure to check into that. If you go to www.bankrate.com, they have a guide for you. Just put donation valuation guide into their search box and it will come up. I believe it is the first on the list. Good luck! (02/22/2011)

By maryeruth

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

Use the Google search engine and find the website for the Salvation Army or Goodwill. One of these sites provides a list of donations such as clothing, furniture, etc. and gives you the fair market value of each. (02/22/2011)

By MCW

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February 21, 20110 found this helpful

How can one best determine fair market value of vintage furniture (wicker) donated to charity?

By Patricio from Los Angeles

Answers:

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

Use the Google search engine and find the website for the Salvation Army or Goodwill. One of these sites provides a list of donations such as clothing, furniture, etc. and gives you the fair market value of each.

(03/26/2010)

By MCW

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

Look up similar items on eBay. (04/19/2010)

By kemperjl

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March 26, 20100 found this helpful

How do I value clothing items I've donated throughout the year? I took pictures of each item for our records, but now I need to put a value to each item.

By Candace from Scottsdale, AZ

Answers:

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

Read the Archives at the bottom of this page entitled:
Request: Determining Fair market Value for Donations (12/02/2009)

By MCW

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

To my knowledge you do not get to determine the value of the items, the place you take them to does.
Our non-profit is only allowed to give a receipt for the amount we will make off of it. Example: your 30.00 shirt resales here for 2.00 and that 2.00 is all the more write off we can give. (12/03/2009)

By Dedeswrkshop

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

Here's what I do: go to Honesty.com, and search for the item that you're donating. This site has a tool that lets you see what the going market rate is for the item, on auction websites. This is a great baseline to work from, because online auctions are the only national, "true" supply and demand market. If the price is too high, no one buys. You get a clear picture of what the market will bear, on used items. Good luck, and good for you, for donating. (12/05/2009)

By leopardstripes

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December 2, 20090 found this helpful

To help you determine your donations "fair market value", Goodwill provides a "Value Guide" and offers average prices in their stores for items in good condition. Get a receipt and this can be deducted from your taxes. You will be surprised how much this adds up.

I usually keep a bin or box and collect items as I go throughout the year. I just love it when it gets full and I have to start another one. I also write down all items I give. This is needed for tax verification or for the person doing the taxes.

This is probably a great incentive for one to clean out the clutter around the house and you can claim it on your taxes at the end of the year. Individuals with disabilities and other barriers are employed at certain facilities, this helps them as well. Also this will help the needy, too. What a way to make your Heart-Strings feel happy. Go green for the environment as well. Recycle everything.

A great time to shop stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, Valley Rescue Mission, etc. is after Christmas. Stores such as Target, etc. donate items as well, to these stores in great or new condition.

Whenever I got to town, I start packing up my truck and take a load of goodies to one of the Donation Centers.

Here is the website I visited with a list of items that give you the prices for fair market value.

There are many Donation Outlets to serve your community.

By Mona from Hatchechubbee, AL

Answers:

Determining Fair Market Value for Donations

If you have only a few donations the free guides above provide information, but if you donate many items each year you can reduce your taxes or get a larger refund using donation valuation software.

For those of you who do your own taxes with TurboTax, they offer their ItsDeductible software free and the two work together to find fair market values for your donated items. If you use an accountant or taxpro, then charitydeductions.com also provides values for nearly anything sold on eBay and doesn't require you to purchase Turbotax later to view your results. (12/19/2008)

By David

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