Charitable Contribution Worth – Daily Tip

It's Deductible charity donation items worthWith the tax deadline right around the corner, you have already finished your taxes or will be finishing them soon. now is a great time to look at what deductions you were able to take and see if you can increase them for next year.

If you file a Schedule A (Itemized Deductions) when doing your tax return, you can claim hundreds of dollars in charitable contributions with just a small effort. In fact, you have most likely been short changing yourself on legal tax deductions in the past simply because you didn’t know what your contributions were worth or what exactly you were allowed to deduct.

The simplest way to maximize your charitable deductions check out a book called It’s Deductible from your local library. (this book can also purchase with little risk – the book comes with a 60 day guarantee (“If you are not satisfied with the ItsDeductible workbook, return it within 60 days of purchase with your dated receipt for a full refund of your purchase price (excluding shipping and handling“)

Some other places you can go to get an idea of what donated items are worth:

Salvation Army’s Charity Donation Values Page
Valuation Guide for Charitable Contributions

The reason that it’s valuable to know what you can deduct is that you can magnify your tax savings with this new knowledge. When someone offers you a box of items that you don’t really need, you will no longer politely decline because you’ll know that that box of goods is worth $50 in savings on your taxes. You will put yourself in a position to actively reduce your taxes.

One simple way to do this is to create a box specifically for items to be donated. Print out one of the value sheets and glue it to the outside of the box. Place the box in your garage, basement or attic. When you have something to donate, place it in the box and take it to the donation center when it’s full. By designating a specific area, you are more likely to donate the items rather than throw them away.

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6 Responses to Charitable Contribution Worth – Daily Tip

  1. Jay Gatsby says:

    I was always one to hold on to things I no longer used or needed, and even accept such items from other people, all with the idea that some day I’d need to itemize my taxes rather than take the standard tax deduction. In donating ~$750 worth of stuff each year, I’ve found a way to ensure that I get money back from the Government, rather than pay it.

  2. IRA says:

    It’s Deductible (the software version) was included in TurboTax Deluxe this year.

  3. Jay Gatsby says:

    Yes, “It’s Deductible” was included in the $20 version of TaxCut that I used. Frankly, I don’t like TaxCut (the software has some non-intuitive aspects to it), but for $20 what more can you ask? Also, I think the deduction values are a bit low, in that some of the stuff I’ve donated are “designer”, and might fetch higher values in a consignment shop (but doing so would be a hassle).

  4. makingourway says:

    Jay Gatsby,
    I agree with you. The deduction values from it’s deductible are drawn from ebay auctions. Frankly speaking ebay is a notoriously bad place for selling used clothing and many of the items most frequently donated to charity. A used clothing store might be a more effective yard stick.
    I find that many of the items I submit are either higher quality, better condition or worth quite a bit more than the guidelines suggest.
    Now I’m not talking about claiming $14 for President Clinton’s used underwear, but I do think the valuations are low from the perspective of a realistic market valuation.

    Also, I love the idea of a charity give away box.

    NC is a high tax state. Combined with being in a high tax bracket, I’m thinking you can often do well by donating vs. selling at garage sale or at ebay.

    Making Our Way

  5. sue says:

    FYI: When I used It’s deductable, it also figures your milage to and from your home and the destination of the gift. It figures this all for you.

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