Take a Tax Break for Decluttering

Mind these tax rules when cleaning out your home and donating to charity.

Cleaning out your home or garage can be a boon to charities, but noncash donations come with their own set of rules. The IRS expects you to use the fair market value of your donation to determine your deduction. Tools such as TurboTax’s ItsDeductible can help give you an idea of an item’s fair value and can track your donations throughout the year. For anything worth more than $500, you’re required to provide a written description on Form 8283. For anything more than $5,000, you need an appraisal, but you can deduct the cost of getting one.

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Jessica L. Anderson
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Anderson has been with Kiplinger since January 2004, when she joined the staff as a reporter. Since then, she's covered the gamut of personal finance issues—from mortgages and credit to spending wisely—and she heads up Kiplinger's annual automotive rankings. She holds a BA in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was the 2012 president of the Washington Automotive Press Association and serves on its board of directors. In 2014, she was selected for the North American Car and Truck Of the Year jury. The awards, presented at the Detroit Auto Show, have come to be regarded as the most prestigious of their kind in the U.S. because they involve no commercial tie-ins. The jury is composed of nationally recognized journalists from across the U.S. and Canada, who are selected on the basis of audience reach, experience, expertise, product knowledge, and reputation in the automotive community.