Noncash Charitable Contributions

dreamstime_m_68107089The task of “spring cleaning,” a thorough cleaning of a house or room that can really happen any season, is one that many of us put off as long as possible. Though the chore of sorting through old furniture, clothing and household items no longer needed can be a thankless one to complete, the value of many items donated to charitable organizations can be deducted on your federal income tax return which means more money in your pocket and provides validation as a job well done.

To deduct the value of donated goods, the IRS requires that you keep a record of the donation. This includes the donation receipt from the charity, which includes the drop off date, and an itemized list of what was donated. One good practice made easier by technology: Use your smartphone to take a picture of the items, and of the receipt as a backup.

How do you know how much you can deduct on your return? First, make sure you are donating to a qualified, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. Items must be in “good” or “nearly new” condition in order to deduct the donation on your tax return. The deductible amount is the current fair market value of the item. In other words, you can deduct the amount that you would expect to receive if you sold the item.

The Salvation Army provides a guide on their website to help you value the items. Check it out at For more specific or unusual items, we suggest looking on eBay for an approximate sales value. We’re happy to help determine a value if you provide a list of items donated.


Remember that everyone’s tax situation is different. Additional rules apply for donations of vehicles, boats, stock, or other high-value items. This article contains information about itemized deductions for noncash charitable donations. It is not intended as tax advice about your specific situation. For more information about your tax situation please contact our office.