Getting Tax Deductions for Donated Items

Donating items you no longer you use is a great way to declutter. We're all for that! But it's also a great way to reduce your overall tax burden. Charitable donations can be used for tax deductions.

There are a few different kinds of donation centers, and depending on the value of your items, you will want to try one or the other. First is the matter of your receipt, because you will need a receipt for tax purposes. 

Some centers will give you a detailed value assessment of your items and some won't. Goodwill is one of the popular donation centers, but if you are donating high-value items, Goodwill is not your best bet. In most cases, Goodwill is going to do a quick estimation of how much your items are worth based on what category they fit into, rather than assess exactly what they are and what each item is worth.

Since this type of donation site gets a huge volume of items every single day, it would be far too time consuming and difficult to go through each donation. Figuring out what each individual item is worth takes far too much time. If you are just looking for a quick donation receipt and are not worried about what each item is worth, or are not donating anything that is worth a great deal of money, this might be the quick solution that you need.

With larger items however like cars and very high value items, Goodwill may take the time to give you a more accurate estimate -- but again, this is hit-or-miss. If you do have items that are worth a great deal of money you may want to seek out a smaller, local donation site to take your items.

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Local churches, charities, and donation sites are going to get a lower volume of items and therefore can pay closer attention to each individual donation. This means that you can get a higher deduction for your items, and that you can claim more on your taxes than you could by getting a bulk donation slip at a place like Goodwill. If you have items that are small enough to ship, some online sites offer donation options as well.

Sites like thredup.com offer donation vouchers for clothes and accessories donations that are sent in to their sites. Their donation envelopes are postage paid so you do not have to worry about paying to have items sent to them. They also take the time to go through each and every item to give you an accurate and concise donation slip. The only hang up with online donation sites is that you will have to to wait a bit longer for your donations to be processed and you may not get as much for them as you would with an in person donation. On top of that, you often have to pay to get items back if you decide that you are not happy with the price that is quoted.

Donation is a great way to start organizing and decluttering your home and get it looking great. And with Tax Day coming in a few months, you have an extra incentive to hunt for stuff to give away.