Tax Breaks

Retiree Tax Tip: Donating Items to Charity

Generally, the higher the value of your donation, the more records you'll need to gather.

Taxpayers who expect to itemize their 2018 tax returns may want to scour their closets before year-end for gently used goods to give to charity and boost their charitable deduction. But writing off those donated goods comes with its own set of rules from Uncle Sam.

Generally, the higher the value of your donation, the more records you'll need to gather. To claim a charitable deduction for donated goods of less than $250, you'll need a receipt from the charitable organization showing the charity's name, date and location of the donation, and a description of the goods. Donated goods worth $250 to $5,000 require a written acknowledgment from the charity, including a description of the items donated. Donated goods worth more than $5,000 also require a qualified written appraisal.

Read IRS Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, which details step-by-step the additional recordkeeping required as the value of the donated goods climbs.

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